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Less blood flow to brain may cause dementia

1st September 2005

The amount of blood which is pumped into the brain may play more of a part in the Alzheimer's disease than first thought.

Scientists from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands discovered that patients with late-onset dementia had a much lower rate of blood flow to the brain than other groups.

The results came from a study of elderly residents with and without dementia, who were testing via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to see how much blood was pumped into their brain.

"Our findings not only support the hypothesis that vascular factors contribute to dementia in the elderly, they are highly suggestive that a diminished cerebral blood flow indeed causes brain damage," said Dr Aart Spilt, lead author of the study.

Dementia including Alzheimer's disease, involves the loss of cognitive functions, such as thinking, remembering and reasoning.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and there currently no treatments available for the condition.