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Diabetes & Smoking Increases Risk of Hippocampal Calcification

By jeremyc | June 13, 2018

A recently-published study gives another reason to quit smoking and watch blood sugar levels. According to it, diabetes and smoking are linked to buildup of calcium in the hippocampus, the part of the brain which is vital for memory, both short-term memory and long-term memory.

It is a known fact that calcium buildup in the hippocampus increases as we age. However, this study shows that aging is not the only contributing factor; diabetes and smoking play a role here, too.

Dementia is said to affect about 50 million individuals worldwide. Given the importance of hippocampus in memory-building, the scientists studying dementia have focused much on it over the years.

Previous research shows that when the Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is in its nascent stage, the hippocampus is particularly susceptible to damage. Insufficient blood supply to brain, inflammation, and buildup of unnatural proteins are other commonly identified risk factors for dementia.

However, the researchers who did this study point out that previous research has focused mainly on degeneration of tissues and cells in the brain rather than on defectiveness in blood supply.

In this study, the researchers analyzed CT scans of about 2000 people. The average age of the group was 78 years. The researchers noted that 19 percent of participants showed calcifications in the hippocampus region of their brain. They also found that aging, diabetes and smoking were linked to hippocampal calcifications.


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