'Incontinence' drugs result in memory loss

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Washington, Apr 20: Drugs used to cure incontinence can cause memory problems in older people, a study has warned. The study stated that people who took the drugs had a 50 per cent faster rate of cognitive decline compared to those who didn't take any.

Lead researcher Jack Tsao said the disease could be resolved with non drug treatments so alternative methods such as exercise, biofeedback and keeping to a schedule of bathroom should be followed. ''It may be better to use diapers and be able to think clearly than the other way around.'' According to stats by the National Institute on Aging, bladder control trouble affects about one in ten people age 65 and older.

Women are more likely to be affected than men. Causes include nerve damage, loss of muscle tone or enlarged prostate in men.

The research began after 73-year-old woman patient of Mr Tsao started hallucinating conversations with dead relatives and having memory problems, shortly after taking incontinence drugs. Her thinking improved when she stopped the drug for several months. It was revealed that medications affected acetylcholine, a chemical messenger that shuttles signals through the brain and the rest of the nervous system. The drugs block some nerve impulses, such as spasms of the bladder.


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