Seven Steps to Help Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's Disease; AMERICAN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS WAYS TO AVOID DEMENTIA
Byline: ALED BLAKE
THESE seven steps could help you avoid Alzheimer's disease, according to scientists.
A new study shows seven preventable risk factors which can be attributed to the disease.
And millions of people could be helped if they only take a small step in each area.
The scientists in the US pointed to quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, enhancing mental activity, controlling blood pressure and diabetes, and managing obesity and depression, as ways of lessening risk to Alzheimer's.
A leading Alzheimer's charity welcomed the findings - and said action should be taken immediately to encourage people to take those steps.
The report, presented to The Alzheimer's Association 2011 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Paris and published online in The Lancet Neurology, suggests that low education attainment contributes to the largest proportion - 19% or 6.5 million - of Alzheimer's cases worldwide and smoking to the second highest - 14% or 4.7 million.
Physical inactivity contributed to the third largest proportion, 13% or 4.3 million of Alzheimer's sufferers around the world, the scientists said.
Authors Deborah Barnes and Kristine Yaffe from the University of California, San Francisco, said: "Given the current absence of disease-modifying treatments, as well as increasing awareness that symptoms develop over many years or even decades, there has been growing interest in identification of effective strategies for prevention of Alzheimer's.
"Observational studies have identified a wide range of po-tentially modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer's and dementia."
The Alzheimer's Society in Wales said in a statement: "This study highlights the scale of the impact of lifestyle factors on our risk of developing Alzheimer's - and brings home how many people could potentially avoid this disease if we tackle them.
"Everyone knows how important it is to lead a generally healthy lifestyle. But if more of us ate our five fruit and veg a day, regularly cycled, ran or swam, and cut out cigarettes then we could massively reduce the hold Alzheimer's has on us. …