New Study Reports Alzheimer’s Could Be Prevented

Lifestyle changes and treatment or prevention of chronic medical conditions could potentially prevent more than half of Alzheimer’s cases. 

According to a new report by health researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center the biggest modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are, in descending order of magnitude, low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity.

The scientists analyzed data from studies around the world involving hundreds of thousands of participants.

They reported that for aging adults in the United States, the biggest modifiable risk factors are physical inactivity, depression, smoking, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, low education and diabetes.

They noted that these risk factors are associated with up to 51 percent of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide (17.2 million cases) and up to 54 percent of Alzheimer’s cases in the United States (2.9 million cases).

“This is great news for millions of aging Americans,” declares Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  Alzheimer’s disease impacts several million Americans and is the most common reason aging adults require costly long-term care.

“The study suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer’s,” said Slome. 

The study results were presented at the 2011 meeting of the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Paris, France.  The research was supported by funds from the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the UCSF School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging.

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