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New Study Identifies 9 Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease

Aug 20, 2015
TIME Health
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Two-thirds of Alzheimer's cases could be attributed to nine risk factors that are potentially fixable, according to a new study released Thursday.

Researchers linked obesity, carotid artery narrowing, low educational attainment, depression, high blood pressure, frailty, smoking habits, high levels of homocysteine (an amino acid), and type 2 diabetes in the Asian population to about two-thirds of global Alzheimer's cases in a recent analysis of existing data. The study, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, is purely observational but the researchers think its findings could help medical professionals prescribe specific lifestyle changes that could have a targeted effect at reducing the number of Alzheimer's cases around the world.

Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia, the broad term for the deterioration of memory and mental abilities. There is currently no cure for dementia, which impacts 1 in 14 people over age 65, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

For the study, researchers pooled and analyzed data from over 300 studies to identify the most common risk factors for the disease. Researchers also found evidence that some hormones, vitamins and drugs to reduce high blood pressure can help lower the risk of developing the disease while homocysteine and depression were associated with heightened risk.

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