PET scan shows widowhood can up Alzheimer's risk: study

PET scan shows widowhood can up Alzheimer's risk: study

Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | February 28, 2020
Alzheimers/Neurology Molecular Imaging

"When the PET results were positive, I knew definitively I had Alzheimer's," Geri Taylor, a healthcare executive with Alzheimer's and advocate for greater Alzheimer's drug trials participation, explained, noting that, “the daily uncertainty of my life was resolved. Only individuals with positive PET scans were admitted to clinical trials. Before, they were admitted only based on symptoms. We now know the results of older trials were corrupted by participants who didn't actually have the disease.”

This latest study is not the only one to look at the links between married status and dementia risk. In 2018, a meta-analysis by U.K. and European researchers of 15 studies, published in the British Medical Journal, found that “being married is associated with reduced risk of dementia [compared with] widowed and lifelong single people, who are also underdiagnosed in routine clinical practice,” as noted by first author Dr. Andrew Summerlad of the University College London Division of Psychiatry, adding that, “dementia prevention in unmarried people should focus on education and physical health, and should consider the possible effect of social engagement as a modifiable risk factor.”

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