Prof-David-SmithA packed audience sat enthralled as Emeritus Professor A. David Smith (University of Oxford, UK) spoke of his research into novel treatments and techniques for Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia.

Then came this question from the audience:

“Can we prevent Alzheimer’s?”

“Yes, we can!” was Prof. Smith’s resounding reply.

Here’s How:

Prof. A. David Smith’s recommendations:

  • Stop smoking
  • 30 minutes of brisk exercise each day (enough to get you puffing and sweating)
  • If you have diabetes and/or high blood pressure, take drugs that effectively treat these
  • Increase the Mediterranean elements of your diet, especially your 5+ a day of fruit and vegetables
  • Eat fish once or more a week
  • Watch your blood glucose
  • Make sure your vitamin D and B12 status is good
  • If you do have memory problems, get your homocysteine checked.
    If it’s high, take B vitamins in consultation with your GP
  • Keep mentally and socially active

Here’s Why.

Prof. Smith cited, (among others), the Caerphilly Cohort Study  Read the full study

Twenty-five years ago, 2,235 men between the ages of 45 and 59 agreed to take part in a longitudinal study.  They were tested again in 2013.

The group who had adopted these healthy behaviours:

  1. Non-smoking
  2. Consuming more than 3 portions of fruit / vegetables a day
  3. Consuming less than 30% of calories as fat
  4. Taking daily exercise
  5. Drinking less than 3 units of alcohol per day

had a 64% lower risk of dementia.

It’s as simple as that!

Is Alzheimer’s inherited?

When asked if Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by our genes, Prof. Smith dispelled that myth.

‘Less than 1% of dementia cases are entirely genetic’.

About 20% of the population have common gene mutations (called susceptibility genes) which may slightly increase the risk of developing dementia, but in 99% of all cases, dementia does not have genetic causes.

Most common risk factors for dementia are NOT genetic. Here they are:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Mid-life high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity
  • Depression
  • Low social activity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Low education
  • Diabetes and high blood sugar
  • Low intake of omega-3 fatty acids
  • High blood homocysteine (due to low levels of B vitamins)

Here’s the best news! Dementia CAN be prevented.

Read more: The original study  and the BBC article:

Science Note:

What’s the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a group of conditions that affect how well our brains work.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease – which around two-thirds of people with dementia have.

The symptoms each person experiences depends on the parts of the brain that are affected. However, the most common dementia symptoms include changes in memory, thinking, behaviour, personality and emotions. These changes affect a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks and interfere with their everyday lives.

More reading: Why does Alzheimer’s affect people differently? Is it Alzheimer’s? When Children become Parents

Alzheimer’s Association website