Alzheimer's Disease and Atherosclerosis May Be Linked

Research by Alex E. Roher and others from the Sun Health Research Institute, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in September 2003 showed a significant association between atherosclerosis in the Circle of Willis arteries (the arteries that lead to the brain) and the presence of Alzheimer's Disease.

Atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's Disease

The researchers examined 54 autopsy cases and found in that in the cases where Alzheimer's Disease was prevalent there was a significantly increased degree of atherosclerosis or plaque build up in the arteries that lead to the brain.

The researchers concluded that:
"an association between severe circle of Willis atherosclerosis and sporadic Alzheimer's Disease should be considered a risk factor for this dementia. Observations strongly suggest that atherosclerosis-induced brain hypoperfusion contributes to the clinical and pathological manifestations of Alzheimer's Disease."

An Association - Not Causation

Obviously these findings do not prove anything one way or another but they do demonstrate the clear association between atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's Disease. Considering Alzheimer's Disease affects predominantly older folk and people are living longer than ever before it is no surprise that the amount of Alzheimer's patients is on the rise. Currently Alzheimer's is the 7th leading killer in America and it's on the rise. I can be rationalized however that treating atherosclerosis as it relates to heart disease and stroke through diet, exercise, and medicine might have some benefit to staving Alzheimer's Disease as well. This however is still speculation and unproven, though it would be healthy and advisable anyway.

On a related note this seems to correlate with soda (i.e. sugar) causing increased amyloid plaque deposits in the brain. Sugars after all contribute to increases in insulin which contribute to heart disease which is often caused by arterial afflictions such as atherosclerosis. I'd welcome any thoughts on the subject in the comments. Am I stretching too far on this one or does it make some sense?

Journal of the American Heart Association, Sept. 2003

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally

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