Dementia is a condition where a patient loses their ability to remember, think, and reason over time, and it can eventually result in death. This condition may also cause personality changes, which can be very scary for patients and their loved ones to experience. Alzheimer’s disease mainly affects older adults, such as those who reside in nursing homes; however, many people live to an advanced age without ever having any signs of dementia.
Medical advancements happen all the time. Recently, scientists found a connection between taking the supplement lithium and a lowered risk of developing dementia. Could lithium potentially delay the onset of dementia?
What is lithium?
Lithium is a naturally occurring metal that, in medication form, helps to balance mood, reduce manic behaviors, and manage bipolar disorder. Lithium does this by altering certain chemicals present in the brain, particularly dopamine, glutamate, and GABA, and by decreasing the amount of damage to neurons. Using the drug for long periods of time may affect the thyroid and kidneys, which a medical professional will monitor.
Findings related to dementia
Over a period of 15 years, medical scientists observed the dementia outcomes of two groups of patients. Scientists found a lower risk of dementia in the group that took lithium compared to the group that did not. This finding means that lithium could eventually end up being another tool in the fight against dementia.
Being up to date on the latest Alzheimer’s research allows you to take a proactive approach regarding the healthcare of your older loved ones.