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Treating Heart Disease Risk Factors May Slow Alzheimer's Disease,Progression

- Late Life Weight Loss and "Motivational Reserve" May Also Affect Alzheimer's Risk -

WASHINGTON, June 10, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study suggests that treating risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to research reported today at the 2nd Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia in Washington, DC.

Two new studies presented at the conference further confirm the close relationship between heart health and brain health. A third report, this one from the Nun Study, suggests that unexplained weight changes in late life have an impact on dementia risk and also may be useful, when combined with other factors such as biomarkers, as an indicator for early detection of dementia. Finally, a team of scientists has developed a new concept called "motivational reserve," similar to "cognitive reserve," that may be related to incidence and progression of Alzheimer's.

"The best known and most solid risk factors for Alzheimer's are age, family history and genetics, but those are things you can't change," said William Thies, PhD, vice president of Medical and Scientific Relations for the Alzheimer's Association. "Research that identifies lifestyle risk factors gives people actions they can do, and positive choices they can make, to reduce their risk of Alzheimer's -- like lowering their blood pressure and treating their diabetes, or better still avoiding them in the first place. That's a good research investment."

Treating Vascular Risk Factors May Slow Progression of Alzheimer's

There is growing evidence that factors that increase the risk of vascular events like heart attack or stroke also increase the risk of cognitive decline; and that treatment of some vascular risk factors, such as use of blood pressure lowering medication, may reduce dementia occu
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