Journal scan

Prevention is best strategy for Alzheimer's disease

Diet, mental challenges and exercise help to slow disease development
Alzheimers

Most people with Alzheimers disease have late onset disease in which genetic predisposition and environmental factors combine to contribute to developing the condition.

Non-genetic factors include high cholesterol, obesity, high levels of homocysteine produced in protein metabolism, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, all of which lead to inflammatory and oxidative stress.

Reduce risks

This means factors such as healthy diet and exercise will help with reducing risks. The Mediterranean diet may improve neuroprotection because it is based on low intake of saturated fatty acids, but high consumption of vegetables, fruits, fish and olive oil, a compound of which can interfere with amyloid aggregation.

The Asiatic diet is also protective because of high levels of green tea, the antioxidant curcumin and the dietary supplement Gingko biloba.

Changes in the brain include

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Most people with Alzheimer’s disease have late onset disease in which genetic predisposition and environmental factors combine to contribute to developing the condition.

Alzheimers
Mental challenge exercises may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. Photo: iStock

Non-genetic factors include high cholesterol, obesity, high levels of homocysteine produced in protein metabolism, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, all of which lead to inflammatory and oxidative stress.

Reduce risks

This means factors such as healthy diet and exercise will help with reducing risks. The Mediterranean diet may improve neuroprotection because it is based on low intake of saturated fatty acids, but high consumption of vegetables, fruits, fish and olive oil, a compound of which can interfere with amyloid aggregation.

The Asiatic diet is also protective because of high levels of green tea, the antioxidant curcumin and the dietary supplement Gingko biloba.

Changes in the brain include abnormal accumulation of amyloid-β peptide in amyloid plaques and tau protein which forms into tangles inside brain cells. There is also a disruption to the blood-brain barrier, inflammation of the neurones, a reduction in cerebral blood flow and a decrease in levels of acetylcholine.

Current drug treatments influence the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. This can provide relief from symptoms but does not alter the course of the disease.

There are ongoing trials for medication that might alter the disease process by directly influencing the plaques or tangles but these are not yet widely available. At present, the best strategy is prevention including exercise, mental challenges, socialisation, calorie restriction and healthy diet.


Mendiola-Precoma J, Berumen L, Padilla K et al (2016) Therapies for prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. BioMed Research International. doi.org/10.1155/2016/2589276

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