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Treating Heart Disease Risk Factors May Slow Alzheimer's Disease,Progression

oxygen supply to the brain and could cause a stroke or a very mild stroke known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Rosebud O. Roberts, MB, ChB, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., investigated whether people who have had a carotid endarterectomy or stroke are more likely to have an impairment in their memory and thinking skills known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is in some cases a precursor to Alzheimer's.

885 persons aged 70 to 89 in Olmsted County, Minn. received a comprehensive examination of memory and thinking skills, and were asked if they had ever had a carotid endarterectomy or a stroke or TIA. 295 persons in the study group were found to have MCI and were age and sex-matched to 590 controls (persons free of MCI).

Among those who had MCI, 13/295 (4.41%) reported having had a carotid endarterectomy, but only 12/590 (2.03%) of controls had this surgery. Similarly, 77 (26.1%) MCI cases reported having had a stroke or TIA compared to 83 (14.07%) controls.

"In this population, elderly subjects who have had a carotid endarterectomy or stroke or TIA are about two times more likely to have MCI," Roberts said. "This may be due to the effects of the severe blockage of blood flow to the brain that made the surgery necessary, or to the effects of the stroke or TIA. Although carotid artery surgery could be associated with complications, an alternate explanation for our findings is that carotid artery surgery may be a marker for generalized atherosclerosis."

Unexplained Late-Life Weight Loss May Predict Risk of Dementia

Some studies have suggested that weight loss may be a predictor of incident Alzheimer's disease. James Mortimer, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and Co-Principal Investigator of the Nun Study, and colleagues sought to determine whether there is an association of weight at baseline and rate of weight loss with the risk of
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