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Does Educational Background Affect Dementia Risk?

Less-educated people were found to be at a higher risk for frontotemporal dementia in a new study. 

The University of Eastern Finland published studies that showed how educational background could potentially affect dementia risk along with previous traumatic brain injury. 

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), which affects behavior, cognitive process and linguistic functions, is a common cause of dementia in working-age people. 

According to the first study, patients with FTD were less educated than patients with Alzheimer’s disease on average. The researchers examined data from more than 1,000 patients, including those from Finland and Italy, with the most common FTD subtypes. 

The team also noticed that FTD patients without the genetic mutation causing the disease were less educated and had a higher chance of suffering cardiac disease than patients who had the mutation. The control group comprised people who had not been diagnosed with any neurodegenerative disease. 

The results of the study were published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology

The second study, on the other hand, focused on previous traumatic brain injury as a contributing factor to FTD. Scientists involved in the research found that those carrying the genetic mutation were at a greater risk for FTD if they had this type of injury. 

The team reported that patients with past head injuries appeared to develop FTD earlier than those who didn’t. A similar mecnahism was used in comparing healthy controls with FTD patients and Alzheimer’s disease patients. 

The results of the second study were reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease

“These results offer a better understanding of the disease mechanisms and, possibly in the future, an opportunity to prevent frontotemporal dementia,” University of Eastern Finland’s Helmi Soppela, the lead author in both studies, was quoted as saying by Neuroscience News

The studies were conducted with the help of the University of Oulu and the University of Brescia. The researchers also received support from the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Medical Foundation, the Maire Taponen Foundation, the Orion Research Foundation, the Instrumentarium Science Foundation, the Finnish Brain Foundation and the Sigrid Jusélius Foundation.

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