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9 Popular Drugs Linked to Dementia and Memory Loss

A large new medical study confirmed that common class of drugs that doctors prescribe for a variety of conditions may increase risk of dementia.

The connection between a certain class of drugs and the risk of dementia has been analyzed by scientists from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. The drugs like anticholinergics, are inhibiting a chemical messenger called acetylcholine.

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They are used to treat bladder conditions, gastrointestinal problems, and some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by relaxing or contracting muscles.

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Since forever, we have been treating forgetfulness and mental confusion as normal part of aging. But now scientists know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable. As a matter of a fact, the brain can grow new brain cells throughout life.

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Nowadays many things can impair memory like alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Yet what many of us don’t know is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Here is a list of drugs to watch out for when trying to preserve brain health:

Antianxiety drugs

How they can cause memory loss: Antianxiety drugs are used in anesthesia because they dampen activity in key parts of the brain. Especially the one involved in the transfer of events from short- term to long- term memory. So when they are mixed with anesthesiologist’s cocktail of meds, patients barely can remember any unpleasantness from a procedure.

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Cholesterol-lowering drugs

How they can cause memory loss: For a fact, the brain contains a quarter of the body’s cholesterol. So when we use meds that decrease blood levels of cholesterol we should expect impaired memory. They can deplete brain levels of cholesterol and cause memory loss. This happens due to this these lipids who are vital to the formation of connections between nerve cells- the main links to memory and learning.

Antiseizure drugs

How they can cause memory loss: This drugs can limit seizure by depressing the signaling in the CNS.

Antidepressant drugs

How they can cause memory loss: By ending the action of serotonin and norepinephrine- two of the brain’s most important chemical messengers.

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Narcotic painkillers

How they can cause memory loss: by stemming the flow of pain signals and by blunting the emotional reaction to pain. These actions are provided by chemical messengers that are connected in many aspects of cognition. So using this kind of drug for a long time can interfere with long- and short- term memory.

Parkinson’s drugs

How they can cause memory loss: These meds are strongly connected with the dopamine, a chemical messenger who is involved in many brain functions. He is responsible motivation, the experience of pleasure, fine motor control, learning and memory. There can be many side effects such as memory loss, confusion, delusions, hallucinations and compulsive behaviors such as overeating and gambling.

Hypertension drugs

How they can cause memory loss: By blocking the action of the chemical messengers in the brain they are thought to cause memory problems.

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Sleeping aids

How they can cause memory loss: They produce side effects and problems with addiction and withdrawal.

Incontinence drugs

How they can cause memory loss: They prevent contractions of the muscles that control urine flow. Also the activity in the memory and learning centers is being inhibited. The risk of memory loss is higher when the drugs are consumed for longer time or combined with other anticholinergic drugs.

Antihistamines

How they can cause memory loss: When these medications inhibit the action of acetylcholine they also inhibit the activity in the memory and learning centers, which can lead to memory loss.

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