Monday, October 1, 2012

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: For Seniors, a Prevention Puzzle Tougher Than Any Sunday Crossword but Clues, Hope Abound

When it comes to preventing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, medical science is working on it big time. But so far, all we've got are generalities about averting or minimizing the condition: Get a good education and keep learning throughout life. Don't smoke. Drink moderately. Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in the desired range. Exercise daily. Don't get fat. Have friends, a social life, a community. 
There is no magic pill to prevent the cruel degeneration of Alzheimer's disease. Two years ago, a scientific panel convened by the National Institutes of Health to examine all the scientific evidence on preventing it ended up struggling with ways to give the bad news to a public eager for breakthroughs. Here's what they came up with:
Currently, no evidence of even moderate scientific quality exists to support the association of any modifiable factor (such as nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, dietary factors, prescription or nonprescription drugs, social or economic factors, medical conditions, toxins, or environmental exposures) with reduced risk for Alzheimer disease.