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14 April 2010

Healthy habits to help prevent Alzheimer's

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Lifestyle factors - specifically, good diet and exercise - can lower one's risk of developing the disease

People may be able to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to two recently published studies that are the latest in a long line of research. But does that hold for everyone? And by how much can you lower the risk? Here's a look at the facts.

Alzheimer's afflicts 5.3 million Americans and that number is predicted to grow to nearly 8 million in the next 20 years, according to a 2009 report by the Alzheimer's Assn. Because the disease has no cure, medical researchers continue to focus on preventing or delaying the disease.

Two weeks ago, a paper in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders reported that people with even moderately elevated cholesterol in their 40s have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in their 60s, 70s and 80s, adding blood cholesterol to a variety of already-known risk factors for the disorder.

High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking and high-fat diets have all been associated with increasing one's risk. Last week, a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. reported that people eating a so-called Mediterranean diet and exercising regularly were at lower risk -- by as much as 50%.

(Daily Press)

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