Category: Memory Loss
Women with abnormal levels of thyrotropin, which stimulates the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone, have increased chance of Alzheimers Disease.
Thyroid Levels Affect Women's Chances of Developing Alzheimer's Disease
Thyroid and Alzheimer's Disease
According to a report that was released on Monday, women who have abnormal thyroid function, such as low thyroid - called hypothyroid - or excessive thyroid hormone - called hyperthyroid - may have a higher chance of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life.
Pending more research on the issue of thyroid and Alzheimer's disease, it has not yet been determined if the reverse is true, meaning researchers have not yet determined if Alzheimer's can affect the thyroid function. These findings are consistent with previous research that has shown that there is a definite association between thyroid and memory loss.
The study was conducted by colleagues Dr. Zaldy Tan from the Hebrew Senior Life, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professors at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. The colleagues focused on documented levels of a thyroid-regulating hormone, which is refereed to as thyrotropin. The priority of the study involved nearly two thousand otherwise healthy men and women above the age of seventy years old.
The researchers drew the blood of the study participants as part of a correlative study, the Framingham Health Study, in which virtually all members of a Massachusetts town had their health documented for decades. Dr. Tan revealed in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, that he and his colleagues followed the medical history of over two hundered of the study participants who had later developed Alzheimer's disease.
Women, Thyroid Levels and Alzheimer's Disease
It was found that women with reduced and those with elevated levels of thyrotropin had virtually double the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease. And contrasting the same study, which was conducted on male participants, it was revealed that no such link was found in the male participants of the study.
What Causes the Link Between Thyroid and Alzheimer's Disease?
The link may develop after changes in the brain, which are caused by Alzheimer's disease, that later result in a reduction in the amount of thyrotropin released. Conversely, low or high thyrotropin levels could injure brain cells or blood vessels. It is also revealed, however, that the testing is preliminary and that the findings of the study need to be further tested in larger populations before a definitive relationship between thyroid and Alzheimer's disease is proven.
Study Results Limited
The scientists noted, however, that this research publication’s findings might be preliminary because of the limited availability of only a single thyrotropin substance without data on thyroxine levels, in addition to depression status and many other variables of illness that could affect thyroid hormone levels, or the use of antithyroid medications.
Study Exclusive to Caucasians
Also important to note, the findings of the study were conducted on a nearly all-Caucasian population, which suggests that the findings require further validation in more varied populations, according to Dr. Tan and his research partners. The authors also remarked that when analyses were focused on individuals with thyrotropin levels of nearly 0.5 to as high of a level of 5.0 mIU/L, the link between thyrotropin levels and Alzheimer's disease was less amplified.
The researchers wrote that this might suggest that a link between thyroid and Alzheimer's may have been related to individuals with more excessive thyrotropin values in the full analysis.
Consult a Professional
If you are interested in learning more about the link between thyroid levels and memory function, it is recommended that you consult with a professional health care provider who is experienced in the field of thyroid disease.
For further reading:
Thyroid Disorders and Memory Loss: Recent Research Findings and Steps to Take to Protect Yourself
Living with a thyroid disorder can be a frustrating challenge. Whether your thyroid is underactive or overactive, whether you’re coping with symptoms like crushing fatigue or fluttery anxiety, facing the day’s tasks and responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming for thyroid patients.
Researchers have recently begun to document another symptom that may make daily life even more difficult for some patients with thyroid disorders: memory problems. In a series of recent studies, scientists have determined that both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been shown to disrupt a number of key steps in the memory formation and retrieval process.
It’s long been established that thyroid disorders can impact the brain, and by extension, the emotional and mental states of patients with thyroid disorders. However, the link between thyroid disorders and memory loss is a new connection that has caused quite a stir among the community of thyroid researchers and thyroid health advocates. We’ll discuss the mechanisms through which thyroid disorders can impact the memory, as well as some common-sense steps thyroid patients can take to preserve, protect, and optimize their memory function.
Understanding the Connection Between the Thyroid and Memory
Because memory formation, storage, and retrieval are such complex processes, research in these areas has progressed rather slowly. Even today, researchers are still devising new methods of assessing memory function, allowing for a more accurate model of memory development to be devised and applied to different situations.
As mentioned, the connection between memory impairment and thyroid disorders is a link that has only begun to be a focus of research in the last several decades. As a result, there remains some confusion over the nature and extent of the relationship between thyroid disorders and memory problems.
At the current juncture, scientists have hypothesized that thyroid disorders impact the memory in two main ways. First, because thyroid disorders impact the overall function of the metabolism, they can disrupt virtually every physical function, including those we typically associate with emotions, mental processing, and cognition. In other words, because thyroid problems impact virtually every aspect of overall health and physical functions, they may also impact and impede memory function.
Secondly, and more specifically, recent research has indicated that there may be a direct link between the thyroid hormone thyroxine (also known as T4) and the form of memory loss known as dementia. Preliminary studies have suggested that T4 deficiency can promote dementia, and that treating patients with dementia with supplemental T4 can ease the symptoms of memory loss. This has led some scientists to call for further study of a possible link between thyroid disorders and Alzheimer’s disease risk.
Another pertinent finding of the recent research on the thyroid-memory links is that older patients seem to be more prone to developing this type of memory loss than are their younger counterparts. However, cases of thyroid-related memory problems have been found in every age group, including young children.
A Memory-Loss Prevention Plan for Thyroid Patients
Whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it’s important to take a proactive stance on memory loss prevention. Here are some steps you can take to ensure that you’ll have the comfort of a lifetime of cherished moments for years to come.
- Stick to your prescribed treatment regimen. Researchers say that close adherence to the prescription drug treatment plan devised by your doctor is the best thing you can do to prevent and reverse thyroid-related memory problems. Indeed, scientists have shown that mild thyroid-related symptoms of memory loss and dementia can often be eliminated by close adherence to a prescribed drug regimen.
- Alert your doctor at the first sign of memory trouble. The earlier a memory problem is detected, the better the chances are that it can be reversed by adjusting your prescription regimen. If you notice that you’ve been feeling absentminded, scatterbrained, forgetful, confused or even just “foggy,” talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
- Focus on memory-boosting activities and lifestyle choices. As the years advance, it’s not uncommon to lose a bit of memory acuity. Decades of general memory research have identified many things you can do to sharpen your memory, including getting adequate rest, making sure you have enough B vitamins in your diet, engaging in intellectually stimulating activities, talking about your childhood and other long-ago events, and taking proven memory-enhancing supplements, such as ginkgo bilboa.
For Further Reading
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