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Severity of Alzheimer's Can Vary by Season

Posted on October 26, 2018

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The thinking ability of people with Alzheimer's disease changes depending on the season, researchers report.

These patients are better in the late summer and early fall than in the winter and spring, according to the analysis of data on nearly 3,400 Alzheimer's patients in the United States, Canada
and France.


"There may be value in increasing dementia-related clinical resources in the winter and early spring, when symptoms are likely to be most pronounced," said researcher Andrew Lim, from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center and the University of Toronto.

Specifically, improvements in average thinking ("cognitive") skills in the summer and fall were equivalent to nearly 5 years less in age-related declines in thinking ability, the investigators found.

The seasonal differences remained even after factors such as depression, sleep, physical activity and thyroid status were taken into account.

The researchers also found seasonal variations in levels of Alzheimer's-related proteins and genes in cerebrospinal fluid and the brain, according to the study published Sept. 4 in the journal PLoS Medicine.

"By shedding light on the mechanisms underlying the seasonal improvement in cognition in the summer and early fall, these findings also open the door to new avenues of treatment for Alzheimer's disease," Lim said in a journal news release.

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved.

Here are some questions and conversations from myALZteam:

"How does a family know when it's time for Dad to go into a skilled care facility? Dad has declined so much recently and is even starting to occasionally hallucinate..."

"I take her walking around her neighborhood when the weather is nice. On days that it is too cold, we walk at Ross, Hobby Lobby or Walmart, she just loves to look around."

"Trying to find things that we both can do together now that the weather is getting colder..."

Have you noticed that your loved one with Alzheimer's experiences seasonal differences in cognition? Share in the comments below or directly on myALZteam.

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