Nearly 4.5 million people, over the age of 60 succumb to it. The disease is marked by apparent confusion, memory problems and marked behavior changes. The study's findings have found a place in the Archives of General Psychiatry
However genes cannot be blamed all the time. According to the study author, Margaret Gatz, a professor of psychology at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, lifestyle factors exert quite a bit of influence in delaying or preventing Alzheimer's even in families where there is a high incidence of Alzheimer's in the family tree.
Gatz and her team did some tests on 12,000 pairs of Swedish identical and fraternal twins, aged 65 or more, that hovered around testing symptoms of memory loss, cognitive difficulties and certain other symptoms of Alzheimer's.
The findings suggest that in the 392 pairs studied where one or both had Alzheimer's, it was found that heredity factors contributed as one of the major risks of Alzheimer's. Some identical twins did not have Alzheimer's, though their twins did.
Though this is not a foregone conclusion, yet it points a finger to heredity that predisposes a person to be struck by Alzheimer's. Thomas Perls, a geriatrician at the Boston University School of Medicine, opines that late onset Alzheimer's is induced by several factors, and risk prone individuals with a strong family history, could delay its onset by making health lifestyle changes - exercise, diet rich in vegetables and fruits and engaging in healthy social activities.