OBJECTIVE: It has been reported that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) may protect against dementia of Alzheimer's type and/or vascular dementia. However, co-morbidity and the dose of aspirin may be critical. A major indication for low-dose aspirin is prophylaxis after stroke and transient ischaemic attacks, conditions that may obscure an anti-dementia effect by the drug. Alternatively, low-dose aspirin may be insufficient if the protective effect is due to an anti-inflammatory mechanism. The aim of this study was to assess whether high-dose or low-dose aspirin may protect against Alzheimer's dementia in subjects aged > or =80 years. For comparison, effects of (other) NSAID, paracetamol and D-propoxyphene were studied. METHODS: Global, cross-sectional, and longitudinal (1991-2000) epidemiological analyses of clinical, cognitive and drug treatment data on 702 individuals 80 years old or more (351 twin pairs of same sex), all alive at inclusion: mean age 83.9 years (80-99 years). Calculations were made with logistic regression of associations between use of various analgesics and cognitive function, after adjustment for age, gender, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. RESULTS: Users of high-dose aspirin had significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer's dementia and better-maintained cognitive function than non-users. There were numerically similar but not significant associations with use of low-dose aspirin and other NSAID. There were no such associations with use of either paracetamol or D-propoxyphene. CONCLUSION: Aspirin might protect against Alzheimer's disease, but controlled trials are warranted.
The aim of the present study was to examine the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to depressive symptoms among older women. The participants were 102 monozygotic and 115 dizygotic female twin pairs aged 64 to 76 years. Depressive symptoms were assessed by the Center for the Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. The contribution of genetic and environmental effects was estimated for the constructed depressiveness factor and for the subscales which were depressed mood, psychomotor retardation, lack of wellbeing and interpersonal difficulties. Of the variance in depressiveness, shared environmental influences accounted for 39% and nonshared environmental influences 61%. For the subscales, 24% to 62% of the variance was explained by individual, and 13% to 23% by shared, environmental factors. Lack of wellbeing had its own moderate additive genetic effect explaining 30% of the variance. This study showed that in older women predominantly environmental factors underlay individual differences in depressiveness; however, the factors varied to some extent between dimensions measured by the subscales.
OBJECTIVES: Elevated plasma homocysteine might indicate an increased risk of cancer, and cardiovascular and neurological diseases. The homocysteine level depends on the supply of folate and cobalamine, and constipation and/or laxative treatment might compromise this supply. The present study examined the impact of constipation and laxative treatment on the blood levels of homocysteine, folate and cobalamine in a population-based sample of aged people, including consideration of frailty and impaired renal function, both of which may also influence the homocysteine level. METHODS: The study was based on biochemical tests in 341 females and 183 males aged 82 years or older. The concentrations of homocysteine (plasma), folate, cobalamine and urea (serum) were measured in subjects with and without ongoing treatment with laxative drugs. Values were adjusted for age, gender and frailty, as well as for clinical diagnoses and drug therapies known to affect homocysteine levels. RESULTS: Homocysteine levels were increased and those of folate reduced in aged subjects on laxatives. Homocysteine remained elevated after adjusting for frailty and various neurological disorders. There was no significant effect on homocysteine and folate in constipated subjects without laxatives.
This article presents the characteristics of the life-lines drawn by older Finnish men and women. The study was part of the Evergreen Project, Finland. Seventy-eight persons aged 83-87 participated in an interview, in which they were asked to draw a life-line. The life-line was drawn on a standardized sheet as a continuous line which showed the intensity of positive and negative affects during the course of life. An interview concerning the major life events on the life-line and the most positive and negative life periods was administered after the life-line was drawn. The shape of the life-line was analyzed by calculating the level, trend, and variance, as well as the maximum and minimum points. The content analysis of the life-lines was based on self-reports concerning the major life events and the most positive and negative periods in life. The drawings mostly showed an upward trend. On average, women drew the line on a slightly higher level than men. Interindividual variance was greatest in early childhood and old age and smallest in middle age, whereas intra-individual variance was greatest in early adulthood and smallest in old age. Most of the lowest points were located in childhood and the highest points in the present (old age). The densest period in terms of the location of major life events and their affective meaning was youth and young adulthood (15-30 years). The most frequently expressed contents of the life-line dealt with human relationships and school in women, and work-related issues and war in men.