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COPD Linked with Memory Loss by Mayo Clinic

The study found people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.

A new study reported by the Mayo Clinic study found that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are about twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, and it is likely to include memory loss. The study was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers studied about 2,000 people ages 70-89 years, with about 1,600 cognitively normal; there were 317 with mild cognitive impairment and overall, about 288 had COPD. "COPD was found to be associated with almost twofold higher odds of MCI, and the odds get worse the longer someone has COPD. Rates were similar among men and women," according to the Mayo Clinic's news release.

It also said incidence of dementia progresses with age. Dr. Balwinder Singh, M.D., is the first author of the study and is a Mayo Clinic neurology research collaborator who is a psychiatry resident at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. "COPD is reversible in early stages, especially in smokers," he said. "These findings are important because they highlight the importance of COPD as a potential risk factor for [mild cognitive impairment] and will hopefully lead to early intervention to prevent incidence or progression."

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that make up COPD. The study was funded by National Institutes of Health grants, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by the Robert H. and Clarice Smith and Abigail van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Program, by Clinical and Translational Science Award UL1 TR000135 from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and by the Rochester Epidemiology Project.

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