24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Resources
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Midlife Vascular Risk Factors Tied to Increased Risk of DementiaBlood Pressure Fluctuations Tied to Dementia Risk in StudyMidlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia RiskTraveling With Dementia: Tips for Family CaregiversHigher Risk of Dementia Seen in Those Hailing From 'Stroke Belt'Health Tip: Alzheimer's Affects SleepIncreased Dementia Risk With Hearing Loss in Older AdultsNoninvasive Brain Test May Pinpoint Type of DementiaTargeting 9 Risk Factors Could Prevent 1 in 3 Dementia Cases: StudyAAIC: Rx + Training Shows Benefit in Advanced Alzheimer'sAAIC: Alzheimer Biomarkers Up With Sleep Disordered BreathingDozens of Potential Alzheimer's Meds in the PipelineSpecial Training Plus Medication Might Help People With Advanced Alzheimer'sOne Social Hour a Week Can Help Someone With DementiaSleep Problems: An Early Warning Sign of Alzheimer's?Severe Head Injury May Raise Dementia Risk Years LaterPPIs Not Found to Raise Risk of Alzheimer's DiseasePopular Heartburn Meds Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: StudyLifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow DementiaSevere Headaches Plague Vets With Traumatic Brain InjuriesSticky Brain 'Plaques' Implicated in Alzheimer's Again'Making the Best of It': Families Face the Heavy Burden of Alzheimer'sCognitive Decline Linked to Visual Field VariabilityAlzheimer's Deaths Jump 55 Percent: CDCLife Expectancy Slighter Shorter With Parkinson's, DementiaLow Body Mass Index Not Risk Factor for Alzheimer's DiseaseThin People Not More Prone to Alzheimer's, Study FindsWives, Daughters Shoulder Most of Alzheimer's Care BurdenGene Mutation May Speed Alzheimer's DeclineSilent Seizures May Contribute to Alzheimer's Pathology'Silent' Seizures Tied to Alzheimer's SymptomsPsychiatric Scars of Wartime Brain Injury May Linger for YearsMany Patients With Alzheimer's Disease Discontinue AChEIsMicrovascular Endothelial Dysfunction Can Predict DementiaAntipsychotic Medication Use Can Be Reduced in Dementia PatientsPast Psychiatric Disorders Do Not Raise Risk of Alzheimer's DiseasePast Psychiatric Ills Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: StudyXanax, Valium May Boost Pneumonia Risk in Alzheimer's PatientsSGA Prescribing Higher for Veterans With PTSD/DementiaDrug Tied to Dementia Risk Overprescribed to Seniors: StudyProton Pump Inhibitor Use Ups Pneumonia Risk in DementiaVitamin E, Selenium Supplements Won't Curb Men's Dementia RiskDizzy Spells in Middle-Age Tied to Dementia Risk LaterFive Million American Seniors Now Living With Alzheimer'sStudy: Gene Test Needed Before Using Alzheimer's Drug 'Off-Label'Annual Death Toll From Alzheimer's Nearly Doubles in 15 YearsImmune Disorders Such as MS, Psoriasis May Be Tied to Dementia RiskIs Need for More Sleep a Sign of Pending Dementia?Unhealthy in Middle Age, Dementia in Old Age?HRT Won't Lower Women's Alzheimer's Risk, Study Finds
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Alzheimer's Protein Plaques May Also Harm the Heart

HealthDay News
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 28th 2016

new article illustration

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Protein fragments that form plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's patients might also stiffen their heart muscle and increase their risk of heart failure, a new study reports.

The protein fragments are called amyloid beta. Tests of heart tissue samples revealed that the hearts of Alzheimer's patients had increased levels of amyloid beta, the study showed.

Sticky amyloid beta chunks create plaques between neurons that are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Similar deposits can be found in the heart, said senior researcher Dr. Federica del Monte. She's an associate professor with Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Cardiovascular Institute, both in Boston.

"We found that some forms of heart failure are basically an Alzheimer's disease in the heart," del Monte said. "They basically have the same biological defect. In one case, it affects the brain. In one case it affects the heart."

The study included 22 people with Alzheimer's who were an average age of 79. They were compared to 35 healthy people in a control group whose average age was 78, the study said.

Testing revealed that people with Alzheimer's disease tended to have increased thickness in the wall of their left ventricle, one of the lower chambers of the heart. The ventricles had a reduced ability to expand and take in blood before it's pumped out of the heart, the researchers said.

These risk factors are directly related to a condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. This is a type of heart failure where the ventricles become too stiff over time to effectively draw blood into the heart, said Dr. Alfred Bove. He's a cardiologist and professor emeritus with Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

And, amyloid beta deposits could contribute to this condition, added Bove, who's also past president of the American College of Cardiology.

"If the heart muscle has deposits of something in it, it will get stiffer," he said. "If it doesn't relax appropriately, it can produce heart failure even though the squeezing capacity of the heart muscle is still pretty intact."

Based on these findings, doctors of Alzheimer's patients should be alert to possible heart problems and other potential organ failures, del Monte said.

"Patients with Alzheimer's disease, now they have new drugs that prolong their life," del Monte said. "It is likely they will also have cardiac problems, and maybe other organ problems. It is not a brain issue only. It is a systemic disease."

Elevated amyloid beta levels have been found in other tissues of Alzheimer's patients, including the gut, the kidneys and the muscles, both del Monte and Bove said.

"It's not surprising one would find the beta amyloid in the heart as well, because it looks like it's not isolated to the brain," Bove said. "It deposits in lots of tissues, and where it deposits, it has an effect."

That negative effect could be due to the way amyloid beta affects the body's use of calcium, a nutrient that's important both to neuron transmission and contraction of the heart muscle, del Monte said.

This study will need to be replicated in a larger number of people to gather a better understanding of amyloid beta deposits in the heart, both del Monte and Bove said.

Unfortunately, at this time there's little that can be done for Alzheimer's patients with heart problems related to their disorder, Bove said.

"We don't really know how to treat this form of heart failure," he said. "We try things, but there are not a lot of definitive therapies."

The new study appears Nov. 28 online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

More information

For more on heart failure, visit the American Heart Association.