Anemia May Predict Cognitive Decline

Some data suggests that chronic brain hypoxia associated with anemia may contribute to the development of dementia. As well, anemia is considered to be a byproduct of a deficiency of micronutrients like iron or vitamin B12 that may result in cognitive impairment .  Kristina Yaffe, from the University of California/San Francisco (UCSF; California, USA), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 2,552 participants in the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study, who lived in the community and who at the study’s start were ages 70 to 79 years, independently mobile, and free of dementia. During the 11 years of follow-up, 18% developed dementia, with the rate higher among seniors with anemia as defined by the WHO criteria of a hemoglobin concentration under 13 g/dL for men and 12 g/dL for women (23% versus 17%).  The study authors warn that: “Among older adults, anemia is associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. Findings suggest that further study of anemia as a risk factor for dementia and a target for intervention for cognitive health is warranted.”