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Infection can worsen dementia symptoms

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Researchers have called for Alzheimer’s patients who catch a cold or a stomach bug to be treated as a priority to prevent infections worsening their dementia.

Scientists from the University of Southampton found a link between the common infections and an increase in inflammation-like reactions in the brain, which could lead to a rise in the rate of cognitive decline.

The research, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, showed that sufferers who caught an infection had twice the rate of cognitive decline as those who did not.

Alzheimer’s Society head of research Dr Susanne Sorensen said: “Professionals treating people with Alzheimer’s disease also have a responsibility to be vigilant in their efforts to treat infections in people with Alzheimer’s disease early and effectively.

“It’s important that older people, people with dementia and carers treat any infection seriously and seek medical help.”

The study, which was published in Neurology and involved 300 people with mild to severe Alzheimer’s disease, analysed how inflammatory proteins released during an infection might affect the brain.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Anyone who has worked in a dementia ward will confirm that heavy sugar intake worsens dementia - considering night mare behaviours tending to kick off at weekends after weekend sugar treats from the cook

    This combined with no fresh air, and residents slumped over in chairs after having been dragged out of their beds so early after possible bad nights and constant diet of diuretic substances such as orange squash might be seen as reducing any possibility of body flushing out toxins from blood via kidneys - because of reduced fluids - or via lungs - chest collapsed in allowing little inhalation exhalation

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  • One would assume that infections bring about a condition of further reduction in body fluids

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  • im only a student nurse, but eaven amongst my peers its common knowlage that perticualy an elderly patient presenting with acute/ acuteoncronic confusion should be observed for signes of infections specificly UTI's however the confusional state in my experience usualy returns to base line after the infection is under controle. is this artical saying that the cognative decline happaning during infection is perminant?

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