Medication among elderly may cause cognitive decline

Senior citizens who take prescribed medication to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal problems may be at an increased risk of developing cognitive decline.

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, suggests medications with anticholinergic properties may negatively affect overall brain function in men.

The findings showed the chronic use of these types of medications were detrimental toward memory, as well as reducing the ability in some subjects to perform tasks such as shopping and managing finances.

Medication among elderly may cause cognitive decline Approximately 500 men aged 65 and older living with high blood pressure took part in the year-long study.

Dr Ling Han, co-author of the study, said older patients may be more vulnerable to these medications because of biological changes due to aging.

"Prescribing for older adults who take multiple prescription and over-the-counter medications requires careful attention to minimize the risk of potential harms of the drugs while maximizing their health benefits," Han said.

Cognitive decline can be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease, which currently has no cure. An estimated 5.2 million people in the U.S. are currently living with Alzheimer's disease. By 2030, it's estimated the number of individuals aged 65 and older with the disease will reach 7.7 million.

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