A new study that ties common medications to dementia highlights the need for early detection

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(Katherine Ellen Foley/ Quartz) — Researchers still don’t know all the reasons people go on to develop dementia, and why. What they do know, however, is that 5% to 8% of the world’s population over 60 suffers severe cognitive decline with age, with some 10 million new cases every year.

Last week, researchers from the University of Nottingham published a study suggesting that a common class of medications, called anticholinergics, may be one risk factor for developing dementia.

The link is eye-catching because these drugs are so common among older adults. And yet, from the current research, it’s still impossible to say if these drugs are actually causing more cases of dementia—in part because dementia is so hard to diagnose. In order to actually make conclusions about these drugs and their potential risks, researchers need to first find ways to detect dementia in its earliest stages. (…)

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