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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/14/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Taking care of the small stuff - denture wear and vision care - could be factors

A new study on risks for Alzheimer's and dementia suggests that lots of little things - involving lifestyle upkeep, such as making sure dentures fit, and eyesight is regularly checked, could be helpful preventative measures.

Researchers also looked at health factors not typically linked with brain decline. Eyesight quality, bladder control problems, dental issues and denture fit among other factors were studied to discern what role, if any, they might play.

Researchers also looked at health factors not typically linked with brain decline. Eyesight quality, bladder control problems, dental issues and denture fit among other factors were studied to discern what role, if any, they might play.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/14/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Alzheimer's, dementia, lifestyle factors


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Doctors acknowledge that there is no way to prevent aging, the single biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease. But gauging some 7,000 responses to the Canadian Study of Health and Aging, researchers set out to see if health problems widely believed to be risk factors for Alzheimer's and dementia, like heart disease and diabetes indeed predicted development of the disease.

Researchers also looked at health factors not typically linked with brain decline. Eyesight quality, bladder control problems, dental issues and denture fit among other factors were studied to discern what role, if any, they might play.

When people responded they had eight of the issues given, the risk for Alzheimer's and dementia increased by 30 percent. These findings prompted the authors to conclude that cumulatively, issues that "take a toll" on general health might also be associated with increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer's.

"The single risk factors that we looked at tended to be less important than overall general health," researcher Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a professor of medicine and Alzheimer research at Dalhousie University said.

"Leading an active, healthy life when you're younger is more likely to lead to better brain health when you're older," he added.

There has been debate within the scientific community about the role modifiable factors might play in risk for Alzheimer's and dementia.

A U.S.-based panel recently found insufficient high-quality scientific evidence linking lifestyle issues with risk, which means that current studies should be taken as part of a still-growing, non-definitive body of literature.

Rockwood has encouraged that in the meantime, people concerned about developing Alzheimer's and dementia to take a more pragmatic approach.

"People should engage in a healthy lifestyle now, and that includes all of the specific factors that can add up -- particularly exercise," he said. "You don't have to wait 20 years for all of the data to come in."

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