The significant gain in life expectancy led to an increase in the incidence and prevalence of
dementia. Although vascular risk factors have long and repeatedly been shown to increase the risk of
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), translating these findings into effective preventive measures has failed. In
addition, the finding that incident ischemic stroke approximately doubles the risk of a patient to develop
AD has been recently reinforced. Current knowledge and pathogenetic hypotheses of AD are discussed.
The implication of oxidative stress in the development of AD is reviewed, with special emphasis
on its sudden burst in the setting of acute ischemic stroke and the possible link between this increase
in oxidative stress and consequent cognitive impairment. Current knowledge and future directions
in the prevention and treatment of AD are discussed outlining the hypothesis of a possible beneficial
effect of antioxidant treatment in acute ischemic stroke in delaying the onset/progression of dementia.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, dementia, pathogenesis, neurovascular unit, oxidative stress, antioxidant
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