In a review study entitled “Vascular risk factors and Alzheimer’s disease,” the authors perform a comprehensive retrospective of a series of studies linking Alzheimer’s disease and vascular factors. The review was published in the BMC Medicine journal.
Neurodegenerative decline, characterized by dementia, is currently estimated to affect 35 million people worldwide and has been increasing economic and social burdens. The most common cause for dementia is attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. Second factors include vascular, Lewy body, and fronto-temporal dementias. While for a long time Alzheimer’s disease was believed to be connected to abnormal protein deposition, it is increasingly recognized as being linked with vascular factors.
In this new research project, the authors reviewed a series of studies recently published in BMC Medicine reporting a relationship between cardiovascular diseases and vascular factors to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, they analyze three main studies – a study entitled “The overlap between vascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease – lessons from pathology” by Jellinger and Attems, “Cardiovascular risk factors and future Alzheimer’s disease risk” by de Bruijn RF, Ikram MA and “Treatment of vascular risk factors in patients with a diagnosis of Alzheimer disease; a systematic review” by Valenti R, Pantoni L, and Markus HS.
A careful review of the most recent data concerning the link between vascular factors and Alzheimer’s disease suggested to the researchers that, while clinical and pathological links have been made between the two, the nature of the relationship remains in question. Specifically, there is a lack of high quality treatment studies that give clear insight into whether or not vascular risk modification alters the course of Alzheimer’s.
The authors further highlight that, while these and other studies have undoubtedly reported a link between vascular factors and Alzheimer’s disease, they note that additional studies are required to understand how the relation between these two factors impacts the disease, mainly how treating cardiovascular disease might prevent or even delay Alzheimer’s disease onset and clinical progression.