New research shows that young adults with curvature of the spine are at greater risk of developing dementia.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham’s Department of Epidemiology and Health Psychology found that spinal curvatures of a child’s neck were more likely to be correlated with the risk of death than the neck circumference.
The findings have been published in the American Journal of Epidemiological Society’s (AJS) journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
Professor Sarah White, one of the authors of the study, said: “While some research has shown that children born with more spine curvatures are at increased risk of dementia, it is unclear whether this is because the spine is too broad or too narrow.”
Our research has found that spine curvulation can be associated with a higher risk of the development of dementia in older adults, but this is not yet fully understood.
“We believe that the findings are important as they are the first of their kind to be published on this topic and shed light on a possible association between the curvature and the risk for dementia.”
Professor White said the findings had significant implications for public health.
“Our findings show that spinal health is a key factor in determining the risk to develop dementia, and we believe that our findings could lead to interventions aimed at improving the quality of life of older adults.”
Spinal curvature is a relatively common problem for older adults and this is particularly true for those with more severe conditions such as depression and osteoarthritis.
“It is therefore critical that we take steps to reduce the severity of the curvatures, including by using a spinal compression device and making sure older adults have a proper range of movement to reduce their risk of getting a spinal injury.”
She added: “Spinal problems can have serious health consequences, such as reduced function and impaired mobility.”
These are important issues to be addressed by both the public and healthcare providers, so it is vital that we improve the quality and availability of spina bifida and spinal rehabilitation for older people.
“A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: ‘Spinal disorders are extremely common in the UK, with around a quarter of all cases being diagnosed in people aged over 60.”
Although the majority of cases are treated with a combination of medical treatment and rehabilitation, some older people have a high risk of complications from their condition.
“There are different types of spinal problems that can affect a person’s function and mobility and can affect their quality of living, such in chronic pain and arthritis.”
This includes people with a chronic problem such as arthritis or chronic pain associated with their neck, back or back problems.
“The main way in which a patient can be helped is through the use of a specialist spina band or an orthopaedic prosthesis, as well as through treatment and prevention.”
However, the majority patients with spinal disorders will require a range of rehabilitation, which is a different approach to standard rehabilitation.”‘
Dementia with more neck curvatures’The researchers from the department of epidemiology and health psychology, published their findings in the AJS journal Social Psychology and Psychiatric Epidemiology.
The team also conducted a comparison of spinal curvings of adults who had suffered from spinal conditions such Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, which are known to be linked to the development and progression of dementia.
The team compared spinal curvations between those with a normal neck and those with curvatures over 40 degrees.
They found that those with the most neck curvature had a 10% higher risk for developing dementia compared to those with normal neck curvings.
Professor White added: ‘This finding supports previous research that has shown a link between spinal curvatura and the development or progression of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s.”
In the future, this research could help inform future interventions to improve the physical condition of older people, such the use and management of a range more complex prosthetics for a wider range of spine curvaturas and for people with spinal conditions.
“For example, spinal braces may be used to improve mobility of older individuals with spine conditions such arthritis or osteoarchitectonic disorders.”
Professor Black added: ”While the use or management of spine brace devices in older people is a major focus in the NHS, there is also growing evidence that such devices are also being misused.
“Current research shows how spinal braces are used for a range a different reasons to those that they were designed for.”
One study found that people with spina brachii brachialis (BBBB) had higher levels of pain and a higher likelihood of developing a range 1 or 2 or 3, all of which are associated with the development in dementia, as compared to people without BBBB.
“Furthermore, there are a number of different types that can be used, and there is growing evidence to suggest that these devices can have a range, which could be very helpful in improving physical condition in older patients.”