Common medicines may harm your memory, study finds

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Many people take medicines for everyday health issues like colds, allergies, and high blood pressure. But a recent study has raised a concern: some of these medicines might affect our memory.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego conducted a study to explore how certain drugs, known as anticholinergic drugs, impact our brain function, particularly memory.

These drugs are widely used for various conditions, such as lowering high blood pressure and treating allergies and colds. Some are available over the counter, while others require a doctor’s prescription.

The study involved 688 older adults, averaging around 74 years old, who initially did not have memory problems. The researchers asked them about their medication usage, focusing on anticholinergic drugs, and how often they used them.

Over a period of up to 10 years, the team conducted annual memory tests on these individuals to observe any changes in their cognitive abilities.

The findings were quite startling. Those who regularly took these medications experienced more memory problems compared to those who didn’t. Their likelihood of memory issues was nearly 50% higher.

But there’s more to it. Some individuals have biological indicators suggesting a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in the future.

In such individuals, the use of these medicines significantly increased the risk. They were four times more likely to encounter memory problems.

Additionally, people with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, indicated by certain genetic markers, faced an even higher risk. If they used these medications, their chances of experiencing memory issues more than doubled.

Why is this important? Memory plays a crucial role in our identity and daily functioning. It helps us recognize faces, recall names, and navigate our surroundings.

When a commonly used drug for a simple ailment like a cold potentially impairs memory, it becomes a matter of concern.

This is particularly significant for older adults. As we age, our memory naturally tends to decline somewhat. If a medication exacerbates this decline, it could lead to serious consequences, like forgetting to turn off the stove or losing one’s way home.

If you or someone you know is taking these medications, it’s not a cause for immediate alarm. However, it would be wise to consult a doctor. They can advise whether to continue with the current medication or explore alternative treatments.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies that bad lifestyle habits can cause Alzheimer’s disease, and strawberries can be good defence against Alzheimer’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, and Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

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