More evidence that healthy living may prevent Alzheimer’s

New US research has strengthened the case for exercise and healthy eating in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

For the study, led by Dr David Merrill of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), 44 adults aged between 40 and 85 were recruited, 24 of whom had subjective memory impairment and 20 of whom had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The study subjects self-reported their BMI, physical activity levels and dietary habits. A PET scan was used to measure levels of beta-amyloid ‘plaques’ and tau ‘tangles’ in the brain. Accumulation of beta-amyloid and tau are indicators of Alzheimer's disease. Merrill found that subjects who had a healthy BMI, exercised regularly and followed a Mediterranean diet had lower levels of beta-amyloid and tau proteins in the brain than those who lived less healthily.


‘The fact that we could detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us’ said Merrill.

‘The study reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer's, even before the development of clinically significant dementia. This work lends key insight not only into the ability of patients to prevent Alzheimer's disease, but also physicians' ability to detect and image these changes.’

Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry