Osteoporosis patients are up to 30 per cent more likely to develop dementia, new research suggests.
Women with the bone-weakening disorder are 30 per cent more at risk of developing the memory-loss condition, while males with osteoporosis are 20 per more likely to develop dementia, according to the first study of its kind.
Study author Dr Louis Jacob, from Paris University, said: ‘The major hypothesis to explain the association between osteoporosis and dementia is that these two conditions have similar risk factors.’
Such risks factors include certain genetic mutations, as well as vitamin and hormone deficiencies.
Osteoporosis affects around one in four women and one in eight men worldwide. Women are more at risk due to them having smaller, thinner bones. Their risk increases post-menopause when the protective hormone oestrogen declines.
Osteoporosis patients are up to 30 per cent more likely to develop dementia (stock)
DOES TURMERIC PREVENT OSTEOPOROSIS?
Turmeric may prevent osteoporosis, research revealed in May last year.
The popular Indian spice helps to build and repair bone mass in the elderly, a study by Genoa University found.
Taking a turmeric supplement improves bone density by up to seven per cent over six months, the research adds.
A compound in turmeric, known as curcumin, is thought to balance out cells that remove ageing parts of bone before it is replaced, according to previous findings.
Almost three quarters of elderly people suffer declining bone density, which can cause osteoporosis and is responsible for around 65,000 potentially fatal fractures each year in the UK.
Low bone mass density affects nearly 44 million people in the US.
The researchers analysed otherwise healthy men and women with an average age of 70 who were all suffering declining bone density.
Bones in their heels, jaws and fingers were measured at the start of the study using ultrasound scanning.
Turmeric was combined with soy lecithin to prevent it from being destroyed by the stomach; allowing it to reach the small intestine where it is absorbed.
How the research was carried out
The researchers, which were led by scientists from IQVIA, The Human Data Science Company, Frankfurt, analysed 29,983 osteoporosis patients from 1,215 German GP surgeries for up to 20 years.
These dementia cases were compared against rates of the cognitive condition in 29,983 healthy people.
The findings were published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Osteoporosis and dementia may both be caused by vitamin deficiencies
Results suggest that over 20 years, 20.5 per cent of the study’s female osteoporosis sufferers developed dementia versus 16.4 per cent of those without the bone-weakening disorder.
Among the men with osteoporosis, 22 per cent suffered memory and cognitive loss compared to 14.9 per cent of men without the condition.
Speaking of the risks for both osteoporosis and dementia, Dr Jacob said: ‘These factors include APOE4 allele of the apolipoprotein E, a major cholesterol carrier, lower vitamin K levels, vitamin D deficiency, but also androgens and oestrogens.’
Although the study’s strengths include a large number of patients and a long follow-up period, the researchers did not assess lifestyle factors that can affect bone density, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Osteoporosis affects around one in four women and one in eight men worldwide (stock)
Vitamin D does not protect against dementia
This comes after research released last July suggested vitamin D does not protect against dementia.
Scientists claim there is ‘no convincing evidence’ so-called sunshine supplements protect people from memory loss, a study found.
Although dementia patients typically have low vitamin D levels, the researchers believe their condition may be brought on by them lacking benefits of UV exposure that have nothing to do with the vitamin.
Study author Professor Mark Hutchinson, from the University of Adelaide, said: ‘We’ve broken a commonly held belief that vitamin D resulting from sun exposure is good for your brain.
‘Vitamin D, although essential for healthy living, is not going to be the miracle “sunshine tablet” solution for brain-disorders that some were hoping for.’