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Alzheimer’s disease can be delayed through lifestyle: New, large study joins growing chorus

Amyloid_brain

Hard Evi­dence We Can Slow Alzheimer’s By Exer­cis­ing The Body And The Mind (Forbes):

Alzheimer’s dis­ease is one of the most feared diag­noses among patients…once the dis­ease has been diag­nosed, there is noth­ing mod­ern med­i­cine can do to stop it.

But it can be slowed, and a new study pre­sent­ed by researchers at the Karolin­s­ka Insti­tut in Swe­den gives some of the strongest evi­dence yet as to how: through phys­i­cal exer­cise, through men­tal exer­cis­es and social inter­ac­tion, by eat­ing a healthy diet rich in fruits and veg­eta­bles, and by mon­i­tor­ing the same risk fac­tors that lead to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

The Finnish Geri­atric Inter­ven­tion Study to Pre­vent Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment and Dis­abil­i­ty (some­how abbre­vi­at­ed FINGER) fol­lowed 1,260 patients in Fin­land who were at high risk of demen­tia and had cog­ni­tive per­for­mance that was either aver­age for their age or worse for two years. They were ran­dom­ly assigned into two groups. One, a con­trol group, received the best med­ical advice avail­able and reg­u­lar cog­ni­tive test­ing. The oth­er group got a bat­tery of inter­ven­tions. Among the treat­ments:

  • Sev­en group ses­sions and three indi­vid­ual ses­sions to help them improve their nutri­tion, focus­ing on adding fruits, veg­eta­bles, and fish, and avoid­ing sat­u­rat­ed fats;
  • Inten­sive exer­cise. Start­ing at three months into the study, they did mus­cle-build­ing exer­cise once or twice a week and car­dio­vas­cu­lar train­ing two to four times a week. The weight train­ing con­tin­ued through­out the study, and the car­dio ramped up to five or six times per week.
  • They did cog­ni­tive train­ing exer­cis­es. These were done in 11 group ses­sions over the course of the study, along with lots of inde­pen­dent train­ing.
  • To track heart dis­ease risks like high blood pres­sure and high cho­les­terol, they saw a nurse every three months, with three vis­its to a physi­cian over three years.

after two years of treat­ment, there was a sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant over­all ben­e­fit.”

Study: Future direc­tions in Alzheimer’s dis­ease from risk fac­tors to pre­ven­tion (Bio­chem­i­cal phar­ma­col­o­gy)

  • Abstract: The increase in life expectan­cy has result­ed in a high occur­rence of demen­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease (AD). Research on AD has under­gone a par­a­digm shift from view­ing it as a dis­ease of old age to tak­ing a life course per­spec­tive. Sev­er­al vas­cu­lar, lifestyle, psy­cho­log­i­cal and genet­ic risk fac­tors influ­enc­ing this latent peri­od have been rec­og­nized and they may act both inde­pen­dent­ly and by poten­ti­at­ing each oth­er. These risk fac­tors have con­se­quent­ly been used to derive risk scores for pre­dict­ing the like­li­hood of demen­tia. Despite pop­u­la­tion dif­fer­ences, age, low edu­ca­tion and vas­cu­lar risk fac­tors were iden­ti­fied as key fac­tors in all scor­ing sys­tems. Risk scores can help to iden­ti­fy high-risk indi­vid­u­als who might ben­e­fit from dif­fer­ent interventions…Thus, the focus of demen­tia research has shift­ed from iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of poten­tial risk fac­tors to using this infor­ma­tion for devel­op­ing inter­ven­tions to pre­vent or delay the onset of demen­tia as well as iden­ti­fy­ing spe­cial high-risk pop­u­la­tions who could be tar­get­ed in inter­ven­tion tri­als.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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