Alzheimer's Disease

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There is no way to prevent Alzheimer's. Because the controllable risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are not yet known, it is not possible to reduce the risk of developing the disease. Some studies, however, suggest that a lifetime of learning and keeping the mind active can help protect against the disease.

One of the most exciting new areas of research involves the risk factors that affect how likely it is that a person will develop Alzheimer's disease. An examination of the possible risk factors for Alzheimer's—such as aging, family history, past significant head injury, genetic factors, and low education—leads to theories about how these risks produce plaques, tangles, and cell loss, characteristics that are common in Alzheimer's disease. Similarly, examination of possible anti-Alzheimer's factors—including the use of anti-inflammatory medication, certain genetic factors, antioxidant therapies, and high education or occupational demand—generates other theories. Many potential therapies suggested by these theories are now being tested, will be tested in the near future, or are under development.

Last reviewed on 10/21/2008

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