Many older adults know that long-term use of certain medications can negatively affect cognition and increase one’s risk of dementia. But a new study suggests that some classes of anticholinergic drugs — particularly those used to treat depression, Parkinson’s and urinary incontinence — carry a higher risk than others. Anticholinergic drugs function by blocking the effects of acetylcholine, a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerves and muscles. They are prescribed to 20% to 50% of older adults in the United States to treat a variety of neurological, psychiatric, gastrointestinal, respiratory and muscular conditions, according to a 2009 study. In the UK, 34% to 48% of older adults take them, another study found. Read more.
Source: CNN, April 25, 2018