New research suggests that the timely initiation of medications known as anticoagulants (“blood thinners”) may the risk for the development of dementia. Anticoagulants are widely prescribed to prevent stroke in persons with a type of abnormal heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation (AFib). A clinical study was conducted in over seventy-five thousand individuals with AFib with no prior history of dementia. During the study, those who received treatment with the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) within thirty days were found to have a decreased risk of dementia, compared to those who began warfarin therapy a year or more after their AFib diagnosis
Dementia is a disorder of the brain that causes progressive loss of memory, thinking, and behavior. One of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Family history of dementia, traumatic brain injury (such as a stroke), and advancing age may contribute to the risk of developing dementia.