Chronic pain could be a key factor in suffering from all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s and stroke. This is clear from a recent research published in the magazine Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine.
This study focused on the association between generalized pain, a common subtype of chronic pain, and subsequent dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (accounting for 60-80% cases of dementia) and stroke.
This conclusion is reached based on data from 2,464 participants in the Framingham Heart Study. The patients underwent a comprehensive medical examination that included laboratory tests between 1990 and 1994.
A total of 347 participants (14.1%) met the criteria for generalized pain. Pain in the waist, skull, ribs or spine. On the other side of the coin, 2,117 people (85.9%) had pain in one or more joints.
Does it influence other factors?
“Chronic pain is variably defined as pain that lasts beyond the usual course of an acute illness or injury or longer than 3 months or longer than the expected healing period, including regional pain,” the research clarifies.
Along with these data, other such as lifestyle were taken into account, the Body Mass Index, marital status or educational level, since these could also influence the appearance of cognitive impairment.
The magazine report Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine determines that 188 people were diagnosed with some type of dementia. 27% of these people were diagnosed with some generalized pain and 73% were not.
In addition, 139 people suffered a stroke – which occurs when blood flow stops – of which 22% had chronic pain and 78% did not.
Thus, and after taking into account the factors that could be influencing, the study indicates that those who have chronic pain are 43% more likely to have any type of dementia.
This percentage increases to 47% in the case of Alzheimer’s and 29% of suffering a stroke compared to those who do not suffer from it.
Drug against Alzheimer’s?
In recent weeks, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a medicine for this neurodegenerative disease that could modify the progression of the disease.
It’s about the hope for the nearly 50 million people in the world with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
In our country, 800,000 people suffer from this disease, according to data from the Spanish Neurology Society, an organization that also emphasizes the high cost of Alzheimer’s treatment, between 17,100 and 28,200 euros per patient per year.
The Spanish Society of Neurology believes that the approval of this drug is good news, although we will have to wait first for the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Furthermore, the drug developed by the biotech company Biogen is not a cure for neurodegenerative disease.
This drug (Aduhelm), which is administered once a month intravenously, has a cost of 50,000 euros per year.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.