Alzheimer’s can be an extremely debilitating disease, and millions of people are affected by it each year. Decades of research have shown that a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain – beta amyloid and tau – can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Something that has been less clear are the factors that cause these proteins to accumulate. However, recent studies have begun to explain the process, revealing new possible causes of Alzheimer’s .

Studies reveal 5 new possible causes of Alzheimer’s

There is no specific cause of Alzheimer’s disease. However, research has identified many possible, probable, and known risk factors that may, after all, be causes of Alzheimer’s.

1. Anti-anxiety medications

A class of medications known as benzodiazepines, are frequently used to treat disorders such as anxiety and insomnia. They include the popular drugs lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin). Considerable health risks and side effects of taking these medications continue to be revealed. A study published in the British Medical Journal followed 1,796 Canadians with Alzheimer’s disease and 7,184 healthy controls for a period of six years. They found that taking these drugs for more than three months was associated with an increase of up to 51% in Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Head trauma

An estimated 300,000 in the United States alone experience a sports-related concussion each year. There are many complications that can come from a head injury, and the increased risk of Alzheimer’s is now known as one of them. While some make a full recovery, others may experience problems related to inflammation that does not help damaged brain tissue heal. If inflammation becomes chronic, cells in the brain are less likely to clear beta amyloid from the brain. The accumulation of this beta-amyloid protein in the brain is a known cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Sleep deprivation

Trying to juggle school, work, extracurricular activities, friends, family members, and other hobbies and responsibilities causes many people to become sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can make a person drowsy, irritable, and less focused, but it can also accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging showed that sleep problems are common in people with Alzheimer’s disease . Chronic sleep deprivation puts stress on the body and brain, and can lead to serious health problems, ranking this problem as one of the new possible causes of Alzheimer’s.

4. Soledad

A study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, found links between loneliness and the development of dementia . In this three-year study, researchers found that lonely adults had 1.63 times the chance of developing dementia. The exact cause and effect of the connection is still being studied, but researchers suggest that people who experience this reality of loneliness stay connected with others.

5. Type 3 diabetes

Neuroscientist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, of Brown University , believes that Alzheimer’s disease is a metabolic disease that affects the brain. She refers to Alzheimer’s disease as “Type 3 Diabetes.” Her research has led her to believe that brain cells develop insulin resistance, just like other cells in the body. “Any organ can be affected by insulin resistance,” he said. If you have it in your brain, we call it Alzheimer’s.

Prevention against Alzheimer’s

Living a healthy lifestyle by eating right and staying active can help keep your mind sharp and your body strong. There is still no known “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is evidence that coconut oil can be a supplement that can help improve or even reverse symptoms. It is also staying healthy by leading a lifestyle in this way; avoid smoking, eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables and take care of your mental health. Exercising the mind by doing crossword puzzles or memory games can also go a long way in keeping the mind active, which is an excellent resource to stop the disease.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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