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


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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