We can’t control some risk factors for Alzheimer's disease such as age and genetic profile. But scientists are studying a number of other factors that could make a difference. Research suggests that certain lifestyle factors, such as a nutritious diet, exercise, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits, might help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists are investigating associations between cognitive decline and heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Understanding these relationships and testing them in clinical trials will help us understand whether reducing risk factors for these diseases may help with Alzheimer's as well.
What can scientists say definitively about what works to prevent Alzheimer's and age-related cognitive decline? NIH convened a State-of-the-Science Conference "Preventing Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Decline" to examine this critical question. The independent panel found that more rigorous and long-term studies are needed before specific life style measures to prevent Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline can be recommended. Read more »