A new study has established anemia as a risk factor for dementia, reports Long-Term Living Magazine. The study was recently published in Neurology.

Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues followed more than 2,500 individuals between the ages of 70 and 79 over an 11 year period. At baseline, none of the participants had dementia, but 15 percent had anemia. Participants were cognitively assessed in the course of the study, and researchers found a correlation between anemia and the development of dementia.

“During the investigation period, 18 percent of all study participants developed dementia. Those who had anemia at the start of the study had a 41 percent higher risk of developing dementia than those who were not anemic,” said Lois Bowers of Long-Term Living Magazine.

Dr. Yaffe points to low oxygen levels in anemic patients as a possible reason for compromised brain health.

The researchers say that further investigation is warranted in this area and that anemia may one day be treated as a means of improving cognition.

By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services