In the news: Alzheimer’s disease

It’s been in the news recently that there may be certain steps people can take to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The news claims that if these simple lifestyle changes were made, a third of current cases of the illness may have been prevented.

This BBC News story explains that a study from Cambridge University has identified four main risk factors for developing the illness. These are: a lack of exercise, smoking, depression and a poor level of education. The report states that the largest number of people living with Alzheimer’s in the UK fit into the lack of exercise category. According to the article, if each factor was reduced by 10%, by 2050 in the UK the number of cases will have decreased by 200,000 people.

According to the NHS, stopping smoking and exercising regularly as well as eating a balanced diet can help maintain a good level of health into old age. This in itself is said to help prevent Alzheimer’s, along with many other illnesses such as heart disease.

An article in the Telegraph explains how certain signs of Alzheimer’s are presented in the lens and retina of the eye. Although this test is still in its very early stages, it has been suggested that it could drastically change the treatment for the disease. It was also explained in the report, that once approved, these tests could be performed as part of the routine eye exam by opticians.

The NHS explains that Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, in which brain cells steadily start to die, causing mental and eventually physical ability to decrease over time. Although there is no cure for the illness, there are treatment options. Certain activities and types of medication can help to delay the deterioration, such as brain stimulation techniques to assist in retaining some memory and language skills.

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