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Marriage lowers dementia risk in old age

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — A new research review has suggested that getting marriage or people who get and stay married significantly lowers the risk of mental decline in old age.

Lifelong singletons and widowers are at higher risk of developing the disease, the findings published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry conclude.

In a study covering more than 800,000 people from Europe, North and South America, and Asia, they found that walking through life alone increased the chances of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by 40 percent. Being widowed after extended co-habitation also took a toll, boosting the odds of mental slippage by about 20 percent.

“We were surprised by the strength of our findings,” said review lead author Dr Andrew Sommerlad, a psychiatrist and research fellow at University College London.

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They base their findings on data from 15 relevant studies published up to the end of 2016. These looked at the potential role of marital status on dementia risk.

Married people accounted for between 28 and 80 per cent of people in the included studies; the widowed made up between around 8 and 48 per cent; the divorced between 0 and 16 per cent; and lifelong singletons between 0 and 32.5 per cent.

“There were fairly well established health benefits of marriage, so we did expect there to be a higher risk in unmarried people,” said lead author Sommerlad.

Couples living together without having formally tied the knot were still considered as being married for the purposes of the study, Sommerlad added.

Pooled analysis of the data showed that compared with those who were married, lifelong singletons were 42 per cent more likely to develop dementia, after taking account of age and sex.

Interestingly, elderly people who had divorced were no more likely to suffer from dementia that married couples.

Part of this risk might be explained by poorer physical health among lifelong single people, suggest the researchers.

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However, the most recent studies, which included people born after 1927, indicated a risk of 24 per cent, which suggests that this may have lessened over time, although it is not clear why, say the researchers.

Across the different categories, there was also no detectable difference between men and women in the rates of mental decline.

Previous research has shown that people who live alone die younger, succumb more quickly when they get cancer, and are generally in poorer health.

But the “dementia gap” between married folk and singletons is even wider than the gap in mortality, suggesting that living with someone has direct benefits for the brain too.

With Agency Inputs

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Health

Type 2 diabetes early in life found to increase risk of fatal heart disease by 60 pc

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — Developing Type 2 diabetes early in life increases risk of death linked to heart disease by 60 percent, according to a study published in Diabetologia.

The condition was once considered a disease of the elderly but the obesity epidemic has led to a surge in cases in young adults and even children too.

Research on 744,000 sufferers over 15 years to 2011 found the average diagnosis age was 59 and there were 115,363 deaths during the period.

It was associated with a 60 percent higher relative risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. Not only that, it was linked to almost a 30 percent higher risk of death from any cause, though a lower risk of dying from cancer was seen.

“Type 2 diabetes in young people is somewhat aggressive and leads to higher mortality,” said study co-author Dianna Magliano, head of the diabetes and population health laboratory at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

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Dr Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said “Type 2 diabetes has evolved through the years into a different type of disease. It used to be a disease of the elderly.” He was not involved with the study.

“What we see nowadays with Type 2 diabetes is that it’s affecting a younger population and is more aggressive. There’s more weight, more lipotoxicity, more insulin resistance and more inflammation, and inflammation can cause premature cardiovascular disease,” Zonszein said.

Lipotoxicity is when the fats in the blood, or cholesterol, build up in places they shouldn’t, such as the liver, kidneys or heart.

The researchers also think the reason the younger people had fewer cancers is that it’s just more common for older people to have cancer.

They also suggested that because this group of younger people is being treated for Type 2 diabetes, it’s possible that when they do have cancer, it’s getting diagnosed and treated sooner, because they’re already engaged in the health care system.

With Agency Inputs

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