One in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide is preventable, according to research from the University of Cambridge. The main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education, it says. Previous research from 2011 put the estimate at one in two cases, but this new study takes into account overlapping risk factors.
Alzheimer’s Research UK said age was still the biggest risk factor. Writing in The Lancet Neurology, the Cambridge team analyzed population-based data to work out the main seven risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. They are:
- Mid-life obesity
- Physical inactivity
- Low educational attainment
They worked out that a third of Alzheimer’s cases could be linked to lifestyle factors that could be modified, such as lack of exercise and smoking. The researchers then looked at how reducing these factors could affect the number of future Alzheimer’s cases. Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia. They found that by reducing each risk factor by 10%, nearly nine million cases of the disease could be prevented by 2050. In the UK, a 10% reduction in risk factors would reduce cases by 8.8%, or 200,000, by 2050, they calculated.
Posted on July 16, 2014 by Stone Hearth News