Published on: August 21, 2015
by Dick Ahistrom for Irish Times:
Just nine key risk factors may account for two-thirds of all Alzheimer’s cases worldwide, a new study suggests.
And, importantly, all nine can be modified to reduce a person’s overall risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The US research team wanted to identify the most important risk factors associated with the disease and began a study looking at 17,000 research papers published between 1968 and 2014.
They were able to include data from 323 of these which together identified 93 different risk factors among a group of 5,000 people.
These were narrowed down to the nine most important factors in assessing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and they publish their findings this morning in the BMJ Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
The nine risk factors included obesity, smoking and Type 2 diabetes, the latter two of particular importance in the Asian population. Other cardiovascular issues included narrowed arteries in the neck, high blood pressure and high levels of homocysteine in the blood. The three other factors were low educational attainment, depression and frailty.
These nine factors are linked to an estimated two-thirds of all Alzheimer’s cases, but each is “potentially modifiable”, the authors say. This could offer new preventive strategies by targeting things such as diet and lifestyle.
The study also threw up other factors – for example, there was high-quality evidence of a protective effect for the female hormone oestrogen, for the cholesterol-lowering drugs statins, for drugs to reduce blood pressure and anti-inflammatory pain killers such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
Other risk factors varied, with some, such as body mass index, varying due to time of life and ethnic background.
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