|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News|Vitamin 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 FindsReview Links Albuminuria to Cognitive Impairment, DementiaCan Air Pollution Heighten Alzheimer's Risk?Bilingual People May Have an Edge Against Alzheimer'sBusy Minds May Be Better at Fighting DementiaDementia May Be Exacerbated by Hospital-Related DeliriumLink Seen Between Concussions and Alzheimer'sContinuing Warfarin Protective After Diagnosis of DementiaDoes Living Near Major Roads Boost Dementia Risk?Caregiver Phone Support Ups Use of Community ResourcesAntipsychotic Drugs May Up Risk of Early Death in Alzheimer's PatientsIs Dementia in Older Women Tied to 20-Year Rate of Weight Loss?Better Sleep May Signal Recovery From Brain Injuryβ-Blockers May Not Be Appropriate for Dementia PatientsTest Predicting Alzheimer's Would Be Welcome, Survey FindsWhether Statins Cut Alzheimer's Risk May Depend on Gender, RaceBeta Blockers May Not Be Best Heart Drugs for Dementia PatientsAlzheimer's Patients' Use of Painkilling Patches Cause for ConcernYoung Adults With Head Trauma May Have Higher Risk of Jail TimePotentially Unsafe Med Scripts Up for Dual Users With DementiaScans Show Changes in Some Soldiers With Mild Brain InjuriesAlzheimer's Protein Plaques May Also Harm the HeartCan Occupational Therapy Slow Alzheimer's Decline?Fewer Americans Suffering From Dementia, Study FindsPoor Sense of Smell May Signal Alzheimer's RiskSome Elderly With Alzheimer's Brain Plaques Stay SharpMRI May Help ID Lewy Body Dementia Versus Alzheimer'sBrain Scans May Improve Dementia Diagnosis, TreatmentHealth Tip: Recognizing Traumatic Brain InjuryCould Loneliness Be an Early Sign of Alzheimer's?Resistance Training Beneficial in Mild Cognitive ImpairmentStudy Links Disasters to DementiaAnimal Study Hints at Gene Therapy's Possible Promise for Alzheimer'sHigh Blood Pressure May Hike Dementia RiskStudy Finds Fault With ICU Treatment of Dementia PatientsWomen's Memory Advantage Might Skew Alzheimer's DiagnosisDeep Brain Stimulation May Improve TBI SymptomsCan Brain 'Pacemaker' Improve Lives of Head Trauma Patients?Antidepressant Might Prevent Depression Following Brain Injury9/11 Responders May Be at Higher Risk for Early DementiaEven a Little Exercise May Help Stave Off DementiaHealthy Diet, Exercise May Help Keep Alzheimer's at BayQuestions and AnswersLinks
Alzheimer's Protein Plaques May Also Harm the Heart
by By Dennis ThompsonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 28th 2016
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.
For more on heart failure, visit the American Heart Association.
This article: Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.