- Alzheimer's disease
affects millions of people in their mid-60s
diet and regular physical activity can reduce the odds of developing
- Plaques and tau proteins in the brain indicate the onset of
- Lifestyle factors play a key role in lowering the formation of toxic
protein in the brain
lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, nutritious diet, and a
normal body mass index have all been linked to help people stay healthy as they
age. These factors may also help reduce the risk Alzheimer's disease, says a
new study by researchers at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human
is a progressive brain
disorder that destroys memory and thinking abilities. Alzheimer's is the most
common cause of dementia
causes loss of cognitive function and behavior abilities. Plaques and tangles
are some of the features of Alzheimer's disease. Plaques are abnormal clumps
called beta-amyloid protein that deposit in the spaces between nerve cells in
the brain. Tangles are bundles of fibers called tau that are found within the
‘Healthy diet, regular physical activity, and normal body weight reduce the formation of plaques in the brain of people with subtle memory loss but with no dementia.’
Age is the
non-modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer's
usually occur in people in their mid-60s. Over 5 million Americans suffer from
Alzheimer's, which is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United
States. Alzheimer's cost more than $200 billion in health care every year.
Can a Healthy
Lifestyle Reduce Protein Build-Up in the Brain?
UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior conducted a study
that included 44 adults between the ages of 40 to 85 with mild memory changes
but without dementia. The participants underwent an experimental type of PET
scan to measure the level of plaque and tangles in the brain. The participant's
information on body mass index (BMI)
levels of physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors were also
collected for the study.
The results of
the study showed that lifestyle factors such as normal BMI, physical activity,
and a Mediterranean diet reduced the levels of plaques and tangles on the brain
scans. Mediterranean diet
consists of fruits,
vegetables, whole grains, legume, nuts, and moderate consumption of fish, lean
meat, dairy products and replacing saturated fats with olive oil and canola
Merrill, the lead author of the study, said, "The fact that we could
detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of
serious memory problems surprised us."
have shown that a healthy lifestyle could delay the onset of Alzheimer's
. But, the current study is the
first to demonstrate how healthy lifestyle factors can reduce abnormal proteins
in people with subtle memory loss who have not yet been diagnosed with
dementia, said Merrill. Healthy lifestyle factors lower the rates of atrophy in
people with Alzheimer's.
reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer's, even
before the development of clinically significant dementia. This work lends key
insight not only into the ability of patients to prevent Alzheimer's disease,
but also physicians' ability to detect and image these changes," said Merrill.
hope to conduct further studies in the future that combine imaging with
intervention studies of diet, exercise and other modifiable factors such as
stress and cognitive health. The study will appear in the September issue of
the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's
- Ensure you get a minimum of seven of eight hours of sleep daily.
- Engage in regular physical
activities such as walking, jogging, and aerobic exercises.
- Include antioxidant-rich foods in the diet such as fruits,
green leafy vegetables.
- Include omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, mackerel, nuts and
seeds, to prevent cell damage.
- Manage stress levels with meditation and yoga.
brain challenging activities such as puzzles, scrabble
- What Is Alzheimer's? - (http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp)
- Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet - (https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet)
- Alzheimer's and Dementia Prevention -