People who regularly take laxatives can have a 50 percent higher risk of dementia compared to people who do not use these preparations, PAP writes, referring to the journal “Neurology”, published by the American Academy of Neurology. The results of the study, conducted by a team of academics from China, Great Britain and the United States, were published on February 22.
The authors of the paper stress that their study cannot prove that the use of laxatives causes dementia, the agency writes. It does, however, indicate the existence of a relationship between one and the other. “If our finding is confirmed, medical professionals should encourage people to treat constipation through lifestyle changes, such as drinking more water, eating more fiber and increasing physical activity in everyday life” – commented co-author Dr. Feng Sha, quoted by PAP. She added that further research is needed to confirm the relationship observed by her team.
“Constipation and the use of laxatives for this reason is a common phenomenon in middle-aged and elderly people” – she noted. The scientist emphasized that regular intake of such preparations may change the composition of the intestinal microflora, and consequently affect the transmission of signals from the intestines to the brain or increase the production of toxins that may have a negative impact on the brain.
Taking laxatives may increase the risk of dementia
The researchers drew their conclusions after analyzing data collected between 2006 and 2010 on the use of these types of drugs in 502,229 people and comparing them with data on dementia, collected 10 years later. Information about the participants was taken from the British biobank.
As they noted in the work quoted by PAP, the average age of the respondents was 57 years old and none of them was originally diagnosed with dementia. Based on the questionnaires completed by the participants at that time, it was established that 3.6 percent of the study group regularly (most days of the week during the four weeks preceding the study) took laxatives. These data were then compared with the dementia statistics of these people. As it turned out, among people who regularly took such preparations, the risk of dementia (of various origins) was as much as 51 percent higher. The analysis took into account both age and gender, education, the presence of other diseases, the use of other drugs and the presence of dementia in the family.
According to the researchers, the risk of dementia was related not only to the consumption of laxatives, but also to their amount and type. In the case of those who used one type of preparation, it was 28 percent, and among participants using two or three types it increased to 90 percent.
Dementia in Poland and in the world
According to the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) currently over 55 million people in the world struggle with dementia, of which more than 60 percent in low- and middle-income countries. Nearly 10 million more cases of the disease are reported each year. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the world and one of the main causes of disability and dependence of the elderly. In Poland, at least 700,000 people suffer from dementia. people.
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