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Spontaneous Cerebral Emboli Associated with Alzheimer's

Condition also associated with vascular dementia

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- There is a significant association between spontaneous cerebral emboli and both Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia, according to a study published April 28 in BMJ Online First.

Nitin Purandare, of the University of Manchester in the U.K., and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 170 patients with dementia -- half with Alzheimer disease, the other half with vascular dementia -- and 150 age- and sex-matched controls. The study excluded patients on anticoagulant treatment, those with severe dementia and controls with marked cognitive impairment.

To determine the frequency of detection of spontaneous cerebral emboli during a one-hour period, subjects underwent monitoring of the middle cerebral arteries with transcranial Doppler and venous arterial circulation shunts by a transcranial Doppler technique that uses intravenous microbubbles as an ultrasound contrast.

Spontaneous cerebral emboli were detected in 32 patients with Alzheimer disease (40 percent) and in 31 patients with vascular dementia (37 percent), compared with 12 in each of the control groups (15 percent and 14 percent).

"These spontaneous cerebral emboli were not caused by carotid disease, which was equally frequent in dementia patients and their controls," the authors write. "They may represent a potentially preventable or treatable cause of dementia."

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