Researchers discover new clue for Alzheimer's - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/28/09

Researchers discover new clue for Alzheimer's

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By Cassie Hataway | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - For the first time, researchers believe they have found a connection between a common heart disorder and Alzheimer's disease.  The condition is atrial fibrillation, which is a common heart rhythm disorder, especially among older adults. 

Dr. Brian Crandall at Intermountain Medical Center says they have found that blood clots, which are common in atrial fibrillation, can spin off to the brain killing brain cells.  "They may be small and not that noticeable, but most of us want to keep as much brain tissue as we can because, over time, that can be one of the causes of dementia," said Dr. Crandall. 

The study of more than 30,000 people shows people under age 70 with that heart condition were 130% more likely to develop Alzheimer's.  The findings suggest that if physicians could diagnose and begin early treatment for atrial fibrillation, it might help prevent dementia in millions as we age

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