July 2020

Current research on Alzheimer’s disease & lifestyle

There has been recent progress in the development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. However, researchers have yet to discover a medication that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, or declines in memory and attention. In lieu of effective medication, many researchers have begun to look at how lifestyle changes may be used to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other aging-related problems.

meta-study looking at the relationship between exercise and cognitive decline in people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease, suggested that exercise may delay cognitive decline. Other exercise studies showed how exercise later in life may prevent Alzheimer’s symptoms and potentially reduce amyloid, the toxic protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Health Registry Newsletter – July 2020, UCSF Brain Health Registry

Further, there are many ongoing studies, such as the U.S. POINTER study that aim to evaluate, long-term, whether lifestyle interventions can have a lasting effect on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies that examined the Mediterranean diet and the “ketogenic” diet found that these diets both could be helpful in staving off Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. In addition, studies have investigated the relationship between deep sleep and the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain Health Registry Newsletter – July 2020, UCSF Brain Health Registry

Though we have a long way to go in understanding the relationship between lifestyle and the development of Alzheimer’s disease, these studies all point to the importance of proper diet, physical activity, and rest as a part of healthy, normal aging. Ultimately these studies help us to understand the relationship between lifestyle and disease. Simple changes can go a long way – there’s no need to overdo it!

With current events around COVID-19, there is an even greater impetus to stay adaptable with regard to lifestyle! Now is a perfect time to begin.

As scientists learn more about the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and lifestyle, we’ll be better prepared to adapt to their new recommendations, because we’ve already started developing good habits for brain health.