April 28, 2011
Housebound seniors may have an increased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.
According to a new study, senior citizens who are housebound appear to have nearly double the risk of developing the disease.
Bryan D. James, a postdoctoral fellow at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago, served as lead investigator.
James and his colleagues followed nearly 1,300 seniors from two separate studies whose health was monitored over time .
They discovered people who said they never left their home environment during a given week were about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease as those who traveled out of town.
While the research doesn't prove being confined to the house causes dementia, the findings do raise questions about the cost of isolation.
Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia that causes progressive loss of intellectual and social skills.
James believes the research offers a new way to see who is more likely to develop dementia in the future.
The study was published this month online in the 'American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.'