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Discovering the warning signs and triggers for dementia has been a topic throughout 2017 and I am hopeful that more progress can be made in 2018. It is fitting that this busy year of research has ended with another study coming out about what may cause dementia.

Scientists have discovered that high levels of urea in the brain are responsible for the brain damage, which results in Huntington’s Disease.

We have already seen studies that link magnesium levels, loss of smell, and hypertension in women to dementia risk, but none of these studies had conclusive evidence of the how and why these risk factors contribute to dementia. This is what makes the urea study so important.

Huntington’s Disease is one of seven types of dementia and a previous 2016 study connected high urea to Alzheimer’s. Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Manchester, Harvard University, the South Australian Research and Development Institute, the University of Auckland, and AgResearch New Zealand collaborated on the study.

The findings were made possible by the donated brains of dementia sufferers who had passed away. Researchers do not know the underlying causes of elevated urea levels.  Urea is created by the kidney during the process of extracting ammonia from your body.

These additional clues can help us unravel the mystery surrounding dementia, while also giving it better public awareness. My hope is that one day we can develop effective treatments and preventive measures thanks to such groundbreaking research.

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