Sleeping tablets linked to dementia risk in new study
Studies have linked them to falls, memory problems, panic attacks and early death
Researchers also estimate that up to eight percent of the over-65s have used them within the last few years to treat insomnia or anxiety. There is growing evidence that they have serious side effects and a number of studies linking them to falls, memory problems, panic attacks and early death.
Academics from Harvard University in the U.S. and the University of Bordeaux in France discovered that elderly people who had taken the drugs within the last 15 years were 50 percent more likely to get dementia.
Scientists believe that the calming effect they have on subjects may be interfering with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, which may be causing dementia.
"There is a potential that these drugs are really harmful," Professor Tobias Kurth, who works jointly at Harvard University's School of Public Health and the University of Bordeaux says.
"If it is really true that these drugs are causing dementia, that will be huge. But one single study does not necessarily show everything that is going on, so there is no need to panic.
"These drugs certainly have their benefits and if you prescribe them in a way they should be prescribed they treat very well," Kurth adds.
Published in the British Medical Journal, the study involved 1,063 men and women over the age of 65 for a period of 20 years in southwest France. None of the participants had previously suffered from dementia and no one was taking benzodiazepines.
The researchers followed them up after 15 years and found that 253 had developed dementia. Those who didn't take the drug, 3.2 would be expected to get the condition.
But among 100 patients on these drugs, 4.8 would get dementia, which is a highly significantly higher proportion. The patients had taken the pills at least once at some point in the previous 15 years.
The study concluded: "Considering the extent to which benzodiazepines are prescribed and the number of potential adverse effects, indiscriminate widespread use should be cautioned against."
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Dementia, sleeping tablets, U.K. France, Alzheimer's
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Health News
- Study suggests that menopause affects a woman's memory - especially if accompanied by hot flashes
- Forget printing guns, doctors use 3D printer to save baby
- Is it really that simple? - Research suggests ordinary vitamin C kills drug-resistant TB
- Chamomile tea can be refreshing treat - as well as a safeguard against cancer, researchers say
- HIV resurgent among Navajo tribe as deadly cases spike
- UK to give cancer patients genetic analysis just like Angelina Jolie
- Vitamin D found beneficial in treating asthma symptoms
- Study: Depressed women in 40s, 50s suffer more than twice for stroke risk
- Some experts say it's biologically possible to clone a human
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?