Lifestyle changes could cut Alzheimer cases

  • Deborah Condon

Many cases of Alzheimer's disease could be prevented if people lead healthier lifestyles, a new study indicates.

Alzheimer's disease currently affects around 35,000 people in Ireland, although this figure is expected to increase significantly in the coming years as our population ages.

Dr Deborah Barnes of the University of California, San Francisco, examined a number of studies that had been carried out worldwide and which involved hundreds of thousands of people.

She found that around the world, the main modifiable risk factors for the disease, in descending order, were low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, high blood pressure when middle-aged, diabetes and obesity when middle-aged.

Dr Barnes noted that the main modifiable risk factors were linked to up to 51% of Alzheimer's cases around the world (over 17 million cases) and up to 54% of cases in the US (2.9 million).

"What's exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United States and worldwide," Dr Barnes explained.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Lancet Neurology.

For more information on Alzheimer's disease, click here

 


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