Home' Intouch : In Touch Winter 2017 Contents 12 IN TOUCH WINTER 2017
A NICE SMILE
NEW RESEARCH HAS FOUND AN
INTERESTING LINK SUGGESTING
THAT PEOPLE WITH FEWER
TEETH HAVE A GREATER CHANCE
OF DEVELOPING DEMENTIA.
New research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics
Society followed more than 1500 Japanese adults aged 60 and
over for five years between 2007 and 2012. The team wanted to
assess the effects of tooth loss on the development of dementia
in the elderly.
Participants were split into four categories:
• More than 20 teeth
• One to nine teeth
• No teeth
The study found that participants with fewer teeth had a
greater risk of developing dementia within the time frame of the
This isn’t the first study to suggest that dental health and
hygiene is linked to dementia, and the research team have
suggested a few reasons as to why:
1. Chewing can increase cerebral blood flow, increasing blood
oxygen flow to the brain. This is positive for brain health and
suggests poor (or lack of) chewing, due to less teeth, might
negatively impact brain function.
2. Dietary changes may result in tooth loss, and thus the choice
of diet might also be impacting on brain health.
3. Chronic systemic inflammation is linked to periodontal
disease, which is a major cause of tooth loss and this could
also be linked to brain health.
While these are just speculations – some of which are
supportd by more evidence than others – the research
community does tend to agree that good dental health is vital to
preventing the onset of not just dementia-related syndromes, but
other diseases as well.
The researchers also suggest that the findings emphasise the
importance of promoting and supporting opportunities for dental
care and treatment, especially in terms of maintenance of teeth
from an early age for reducing the risk of dementia in later life.
LENGTH OF SLEEP MIGHT BE A
SIGN OF POOR BRAIN HEALTH,
BUT IS THERE SUCH A THING
AS TOO MUCH SLEEP?
A new study aims to find the link between sleep duration
and brain ageing.
Researchers looked at data from the Framingham Heart
Study, an ongoing cardiovascular cohort study on residents
of Framingham, Massachusetts, USA. Findings were
published in the journal Neurology.
Along with looking at heart health, the researchers also
looked at brain health. They found that participants who
consistently slept more than nine hours each night had
double the risk of developing dementia within the 10 years
of data collection, compared to those who slept for less.
However, there might be more to it than just sleep.
Professor of Neurology and lead author of the study Dr Sudha
Seshadri says: “Participants without a high school degree
who sleep for more than nine hours each night had six times
the risk of developing dementia in 10 years as compared to
participants who slept for less. This suggests that being highly
educated might protect against dementia in the presence of
long sleep duration.”
The researchers also noted that excessive sleep might
be a symptom rather than a cause of the brain changes that
occur with dementia.
“Self-reported sleep duration might be a useful clinical
tool to help predict persons at risk of progressing to clinical
dementia within 10 years,” says Dr Matthew Pase, one of
the researchers on the study.
QHow can I stop my
partner from repeating
This situation can be frustrating
for even the most patient of
carers. Repeated questioning can not always be stopped, as the
person asking might have no recall of the previous answer or of
having already asked the question. You can best communicate your
response and reduce the impact on yourself by giving a short, clear
answer. Then try introducing a diversion, such as inviting the person
to assist with an engaging activity. Writing down the information
might be useful. When the question is repeated, you can gently refer
the person to the written information. At other times, a short ‘time
out’ is advisable for the carer. To discuss strategies relating to your
situation, contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
QMy mother gets very upset when she goes into the
bathroom and sees her reflection in the mirror. She
wants to know who the older lady is looking back at her.
Why is this?
This is quite normal. Due to the dementia, your mother might
have regressed to an earlier time in her life and, in her reality,
might think that she is a lot younger than she actually is.
Sometimes people will think their children are their brother or
sister, or even their partners. To your mother there is a strange
lady in her bathroom.
Rather than explaining that the woman looking back from the
mirror is actually her – which could be very upsetting – it might be
easier to cover the mirror or even remove it. If it’s going to make
life more pleasant for your mother, then it’s going to make life
easier for you, too.
25/5/17 5:38 pm
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