According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, every three seconds, someone in the world develops dementia and right now there are close to 50 million people around the world suffering from some form of dementia. According to a report by Harvard Health Publishing, a few studies have also shown that drugs like anticholinergics (medications for allergies and colds, depression, high blood pressure, and incontinence) and benzodiazepines (medications for sleep disorders and anxiety) have been linked with an increased risk of dementia in patients who take these medications over a long-term period.
According to a Harvard study, there are more than 50 conditions that can mimic or cause dementia. As per the study, it read: ‘more than 50 conditions can cause or mimic the symptoms of dementia, and a small percentage of dementias are reversible.’ Two common examples are dementia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). The study went on to indicate that Alzheimer’s disease is the number one most common condition of dementia.
While there is no clear cause of what causes dementia, there are several culprits that can cause dementia. Dementia, as defined by Alzheimer’s.org: ‘is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example.’
Although memory loss is a primary example of Alzheimer’s, it is not indicative of the disease. The Alzheimer’s organization said: ‘it can be difficult to tell normal memory problems from memory problems that should be a cause for concern. If you or a loved one has memory problems or other problems with thinking and learning that concern you, contact a physician. Sometimes the problems are caused by medication side effects, vitamin deficiencies or other conditions and can be reversed with treatment. The memory and thinking problems may also be caused by another type of dementia.’
One study, published on September 9, 2014, in the journal BMJ, found that Benzodiazepine use was linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that those who had taken Benzodiazepines for three to six months had a 32% greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s. They also found that those who had taken Benzodiazepines for longer than 6 months had an 84% greater risk than those who had not taken one. Another Harvard study went on to say that ‘medications are common culprits in mental decline. With aging, the liver becomes less efficient at metabolizing drugs, and the kidneys eliminate them from the body more slowly. As a result, drugs tend to accumulate in the body. Elderly people in poor health and those taking several different medications are especially vulnerable.’ The medications listed by this study include antidepressants, antihistamines, narcotics, and sedatives.
While there have been many rumors and myths surrounding vaccines that cause dementia, it is simply not true and that myth has been thoroughly debunked by numerous studies. The United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health performed a study on more than 4,392 eligible subjects that resulted in the conclusion that: ‘past exposure to vaccines against diphtheria or tetanus, poliomyelitis and influenza may protect against subsequent development of Alzheimer’s disease.’
So instead of vaccines causing dementia later in life, people who get vaccinated have been shown to have a lower chance in the development of Alzheimer’s disease later on in their lives. This means that while prescription drugs have been shown to create symptoms such as memory loss, depression and fatigue, these symptoms are merely the side effects of these drugs and not necessarily due to dementia or Alzheimer’s.