AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 3, 2019

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Both Low and High Levels of Hemoglobin Linked to Increased Risk of Dementia

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Having either low or high levels of hemoglobin in your blood may be linked to an increased risk of developing dementia years later, according to a study.

Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen. Very low hemoglobin is called anemia.

“With around 10 percent of people over age 65 having anemia in the Americas and Europe and up to 45 percent in African and southeast Asian countries, these results could have important implications for the burden of dementia, especially as the prevalence of dementia is expected to increase threefold over the next decades, with the largest increases predicted in the countries where the anemia rate is the highest,” said study author M. Arfan Ikram, PhD, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The study involved 12,305 people with an average age of 65 who did not have dementia. Participants’ hemoglobin levels were measured at the start of the study. Overall, 745, or 6 percent, of the participants had anemia.

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