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PostPosted: 27 Oct 2018 21:34 
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A research published in the BMJ suggests that women who suffer from pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing dementia in later life. Pre-eclampsia which affects about 46,000 women each year in Britain, appeared to treble the chances of a diagnosis of vascular dementia. It was based on the records of more than 1.1 million mothers in Denmark.

Women are more likely to develop dementia than men — 65 per cent of people living with dementia are female. This is in large part because dementia is mainly a disease of old age and women live longer than men. Each year there were 1.44 cases of vascular dementia per 100,000 women with a history of pre-eclampsia, and 0.47 cases among women without. Pre-eclampsia affects 6 per cent of pregnant women in Britain. Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood supply to the brain as a result of damaged blood vessels. There was only a modest link with other forms of the disease, including Alzheimer’s.

Researchers said that women with the condition could be offered lifestyle advice to reduce the risk such as changes to their diets to bring down blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The team behind the study, from the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, said that the link appeared particularly strong for late-onset disease, after age 65, and was present even after taking into account other potentially influential factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

While the study was observational and cannot establish cause, the team said that a link was “biologically plausible”, with both diseases sharing mechanisms such as heightened inflammatory responses. “This study indicates that pre-eclampsia is associated with an increased risk of later dementia, particularly vascular dementia, suggesting pre-eclampsia and vascular dementia may share underlying mechanisms or susceptibility pathways.”

In a linked editorial, researchers at the University of Toronto said that vascular dementia “might be preventable in women with previous pre-eclampsia, with good control of blood pressure, lipids and glucose”. However, they said that more detailed research would be needed before large-scale interventions.

Based on a report by Kat Lay, Health Correspondent for The Times

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