A new study has found that widespread pain in the body caused by chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia increases an individual’s risk of dementia and stroke. For their study, the researchers analyzed health data for more than 2,000 second-generation participants in the Framingham Heart Study.
Offspring-phase participants who enrolled for the study in the 1990s underwent an extensive checkup that included a detailed pain assessment, laboratory tests and a physical exam. After this initial assessment, they underwent re-examination every four years for signs of stroke, dementia or cognitive decline.
The researchers found that since their initial checkups, 139 of the participants had a stroke while almost 190 were diagnosed with a type of dementia. Despite this small number, the researchers discovered a link between cognitive decline and pain, noting that participants who experienced widespread pain were 30% more likely to have a stroke, 46% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 43% more likely to have some form of dementia. This is in comparison to those who didn’t have widespread pain.
In their report, the researchers stated that their discovery offered compelling evidence that widespread pain may be a risk factor for all-cause stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. They explained that while it is common knowledge that persistent or chronic pain was linked to poorer cognitive performance in cohort or cross-sectional studies, their study was based on more accurate evaluations for pain, at a longitudinal population level.
The researchers note that the particular presence of widespread pain had long-term implications for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In addition, they discussed the possible explanations for the association between cognitive decline and pain, starting with lifestyle factors linked to pain, including weight gain, alcohol, poor diet and decreased physical activity. They noted that stress caused by widespread pain may also impair an individual’s cognitive function.
Prior studies have found associations between dementia and chronic pain. For example, a large study conducted in 2017 discovered that older individuals with chronic pain were more likely to develop dementia as they experienced a rapid decline in memory. Another recently conducted study also suggests that individuals with chronic pain have a higher risk of cognitive decline and memory loss if they have less access to health care, lower incomes and lower education levels.
Other studies have also found links between widespread pain and cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, cancer and higher mortality rates.
It should be noted that antihistamines, anti-psychotics and antidepressants, among other commonly prescribed drugs, may also cause disorientation and confusion that could be mistaken for dementia, particularly in older individuals. When patients stop using these medications, their cognitive function may improve.
The long-term effects of widespread pain, especially pain of a chronic kind, create an urgent need for the novel remedies for chronic pain being developed by companies such as Tryp Therapeutics Inc. (CSE: TRYP) (OTCQB: TRYPF) from psychedelic substances, including psilocybin.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Tryp Therapeutics Inc. (CSE: TRYP) (OTCQB: TRYPF) available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/TRYPF
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