A recent CBS News story highlighted the growing global challenge of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), on an international level. A new study, conducted by the first Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, published in The Lancet (one of the world’s oldest & best known medical journals), looked at current research to try to get a good handle on just what to do about AD treatment in the future.
Lead study author Professor Gill Livingston, of University College London, told CBS News, “Dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century.”
The new study involved twenty-four experts in various countries across the globe who examined the existing research on dementia, and then provided some recommendations for AD prevention and treatment. Several modifiable risk factors (factors that can be changed) were identified in the study as top Alzheimer’s prevention elements to focus on at various stages of life.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, neurologist and director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic (APC) of at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian Hospital, was interviewed by CBS news. Dr. Isaacson told CBS News, “The Time is now to talk about Alzheimer’s Prevention, everyone today—right now—can grab the bull by the horns and can say, I can do something today, to reduce my own risks.”
According to the CBS News article, a new report says that one third of dementia cases could potentially be prevented with better lifestyle management. That’s good news for Alzheimer’s prevention, because, according to Isaacson, people have time to start implementing prevention measures now. Here are the things to tune into at various stages of life to maximize what science has found to be significant when it comes to AD prevention:
-At Early Age-Maximize education (until over the age of 15)
-In Middle Age-manage blood pressure, hearing loss and obesity
-In the Senior Years-manage diabetes, smoking, depression, loneliness, & physical exercise
Approximately 35 percent of dementia cases may be at least partially attributable to these factors, says the CBS News article.
Another factor that was identified in the study was genetics. “Finding a way to target the major genetic risk factor, a gene called the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4 allele, would prevent less than 1 in 10 cases – or about 7 percent,” reported CBS.
Lon Schneider, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, said in a statement, “There’s been a great deal of focus on developing medicines to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.” “But we can’t lose sight of the real major advances we’ve already made in treating dementia, including preventive approaches,” Schneider concluded.
It’s important to note that although this study certainly gives hope that Alzheimer’s prevention measures may prevent or slow the symptoms of AD in some cases; even with diligent adherence to AD prevention recommendations, there is no guarantee that treatment or prevention measures can keep AD at bay.
Click Here to view the CBS News report.