The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Scientific Findings about COPD and Memory Loss
In the 1990s researchers at the Mayo Clinic studied the connection between lung function and dementia risk. Since then, more recent studies have indicated an increased risk of memory loss and dementia as a result of diminished lung function and chronic lung disease. A 15-year study published in 2011 suggested that reduced lung function increases risk for dementia. The study included nearly 11,000 people and repeated lung function tests and cognitive assessments. When all was said and done, the study confirmed that lung function has a significant impact on cognitive function.
One study, called Cognitive-pulmonary Disease, stated that “patients with COPD may have cognitive impairment, either globally or in single cognitive domains, such as information processing, attention and concentration, memory…”
The suspected culprits are hypoxemia, a low blood oxygen level, hypercapnia (increased carbon dioxide content in the blood—a common side effect of smoking and COPD), and/or structural brain damage. The result is that white matter integrity has been lost, which also can be brought on by smoking cigarettes.
Breathe More Easily–Think More Clearly
The results of studies like these have led scientists to examine the relationship between smoking and cognitive ability, as well as the relationship between COPD and dementia. The strong correlation between COPD, cognitive ability and dementia begs the question of whether smoking cessation could not only lower the risk of developing chronic lung disease, but also decrease the chance of developing dementia. Future research may determine the relationship between maintaining good lung health and the likelihood of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Could treating chronic lung disease not only improve lung function and quality of life but also help maintain healthy cognition?
Lung disease is stressful enough without the added worry of associated memory loss. Every day the Lung Institute helps patients with lung disease reach their goal of having a better quality of life. To date, we have treated thousands of people using cellular therapy. Contact us by calling (800) 729-3065 to speak with a patient coordinator about how cellular therapy may be an option for you at one of our multiple clinic locations.