Scientists have established a link between blood clots and Alzheimer's disease.
Publishing their findings in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal, the researchers discovered that patients suffering from dementia were twice as likely to have sustained a blood clot.
By comparing blood samples of a group of Alzheimer's sufferers with a healthy group of control patients in the same age range, the study discovered that blood clots occurred in 40 per cent of the first group but in only 15 per cent of the second group.
Comparable results were found for arterial disease debris, known as cerebral emboli, which occurred in 37 per cent of patients with Alzheimer's but in only 15 per cent of the control group.
"Spontaneous cerebral emboli were significantly more frequent in both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia patients than in sex and age matched controls," the study concluded.
"They may be a potentially preventable or treatable cause of dementia."
Much work remains to be done on the link between cerebral emboli and blood clots with Alzheimer's, with the study suggesting that further research could yield effective results in lowering the numbers of dementia cases in the UK.
There are 400,000 Alzheimer's sufferers in Britain alone, one in five having the disease in its most severe state.