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article imageOne in three Alzheimer's cases is 'preventable'

By Tim Sandle     Jul 14, 2014 in Health
New research from the University of Cambridge argues that one in three cases of Alzheimer's disease worldwide is preventable.
The research report indicates that the main risk factors for the disease are a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and poor education. If these can be addressed, then rates of Alzheimer's disease should decline.
The Cambridge team analysed population-based data to work out the main seven risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. These are:
Diabetes
Mid-life hypertension
Mid-life obesity
Physical inactivity
Depression
Smoking
Low educational attainment
The research suggests that by reducing each risk factor by ten percent then nearly nine million cases of the disease could be prevented by 2050.
The lead researcher, Professor Carol Brayne, from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge, told the BBC:
"Although there is no single way to treat dementia, we may be able to take steps to reduce our risk of developing dementia at older ages. We know what many of these factors are, and that they are often linked. Simply tackling physical inactivity, for example, will reduce levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, and prevent some people from developing dementia. As well as being healthier in old age in general, it's a win-win situation."
The findings have been published in the medical journal Lancet, in a paper titled "Potential for primary prevention of Alzheimer's disease: an analysis of population-based data."
In related news this week, the Australian science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation argue that regular eye tests could in future be used to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer's.
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