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Lifestyle Changes Are No Guarantee Against Alzheimer's
Date:6/14/2010

Panel finds inconclusive evidence that diet, exercise, supplements prevent dementia

MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDay News) -- There is not enough evidence to say that improving your lifestyle can protect you against Alzheimer's disease, a new review finds.

A group put together by the U.S. National Institutes of Health looked at 165 studies to see if lifestyle, diet, medical factors or medications, socioeconomic status, behavioral factors, environmental factors and genetics might help prevent the mind-robbing condition.

Although biological, behavioral, social and environmental factors may contribute to the delay or prevention of cognitive decline, the review authors couldn't draw any firm conclusions about an association between modifiable risk factors and cognitive decline or Alzheimer's disease.

However, one expert doesn't belive the report represents all that is known about Alzheimer's.

"I found the report to be overly pessimistic and sometimes mistaken in their conclusions, which are largely drawn from epidemiology, which is almost always inherently inconclusive," said Greg M. Cole, associate director of the Alzheimer's Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The real problem is that everything scientists know suggests that intervention needs to occur before cognitive deficits begin to show themselves, Cole noted. Unfortunately, there aren't enough clinical trials underway to find definitive answers before aging Baby Boomers will begin to be ravaged by the disease, he added.

"This implies interventions that will take five to seven years or more to complete and cost around $50 million. That is pretty expensive, and not a good timeline for trial-and-error work. Not if we want to beat the clock on the Baby Boomer time bomb," he said.

The report is published in the June 15 online issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The panel, chaired by Dr. Martha
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