Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA)

Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA) May be Linked in Men

Vasectomy and Dementia (PPA) May be Linked
Approximately 80 percent of all dementia patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease however the other 20 percent are less widely known or understood. One such form of dementia, Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), affects an individual's ability to express oneself, impairing word recall and ability to understand words. Incidentally, researchers at Northwestern University have found a possible new risk factor for this form of dementia in men. They have found in studies of men that the incidence of PPA appears to be linked to them having vasectomies earlier in life.

Dementia Research
In the study published by Dr. Sandra Weintraub in the journal Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, the control group of men had a 17 percent saturation of vasectomies whereas in the group of men who had dementia roughly 40 percent had had vasectomies in their past. The difference in the two groups is statistically significant and could point to a new risk factor for dementia and PPA.

Reasoning behind the link is less clear but a little pondering leads us to notice that this finding seemingly has nothing to do with the other known risk factors such as obesity, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, inflammation, or anti-social behavior. This new risk factor is completely different from the other factors which can lead to other health problems in addition to dementia and early onset dementia. This new risk factor seems to be specific to one side effect, an increased risk for PPA.

Vasectomy Reversal
Until more research is conducted and more understanding of the mechanism behind this association one might want to reconsider having a vasectomy… or at least delaying it. Then again, a slight increase in your risk for PPA might trump the increased risk for pregnancy in your life… not to mention the effects of birth control pills on hormone levels or the invasive risks associated with laparoscopy in women. Another thought that occurred to me is that vasectomies are reversible. Until further research has been done this might be motivation to men to have reversals done in cases where the wife or partner has already experienced menopause. Once that chances for conception are gone the vasectomy is no longer useful. You might as well reverse it if lowering dementia risks are important to you.

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Dec. 2006 -

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