Brain Scans May Show Alzheimer's Risk

Posted on June 21, 2005 reports that scientists have discovered that brain scans indicating a lower energy use by the hippocampus may indicate a likelihood of future Alzheimer's disease or other mental health problems nine years before any symptoms develop.

Still, the discovery may provide leads to scientists searching for therapies to at least delay the onset of the degenerative brain disease. It already affects 4.5 million people in the U.S. and is predicted to strike 14 million by 2050 as the population ages.

Moreover, researchers are honing in on lifestyle choices that may help protect the brain in the first place.

"It's exciting that we can even talk about prevention," said William Thies, scientific director of the Alzheimer's Association. He noted that just 10 years ago there was hardly any research into that possibility.

The Alzheimer's Association also issued a press release listing several lifestyle factors that may increase or decrease your chance of getting Alzheimer's. Some of their findings include:

  • Decreasing social activity is associated with increased risk of dementia.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices may reduce risk for Alzheimer´┐Żs disease
  • Exercise and moderate alcohol consumption may boost brain health

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