Seven Steps to Keep Alzheimer's at Bay; Study Finds Risk Factors Are Linked to Unhealthy Lifestyle
Byline: Aled Blake
A MAJOR study into Alzheimer's disease suggests seven steps people can take to avoid the condition.
Scientists in the US claim that there are preventable risk factors which can be attributed to the disease.
But a leading academic at Cardiff University suggested the work should be treated with caution - and argued that unknown genetic factors could play a far bigger part in treating and stopping Alzheimer's.
The report, presented to The Alzheimer's Association 2011 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD) in Paris and published online in The Lancet Neurology, suggest 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 number - 14%, or 4.7 million.
Physical inactivity contributed to the third largest proportion - 13%, or 4.3 million - of Alzheimer's around the world, the scientists said.
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.
"It is also vital that we identify and manage conditions such as depression early on. …