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AAIC: Alzheimer's Prevalence Tied to Modifiable Risk Factors

Identifying predictors of resilient cognition is associated with cognitive stability in elderly

TUESDAY, July 19 (HealthDay News) -- More than 50 percent of the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be attributed to potentially modifiable population attributable risks (PARs); and identifying predictors of resilient cognition may help maintain cognitive stability in older populations, according to two studies presented at the 2011 Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 21 in Paris, one of which has been published published online July 19 in The Lancet Neurology.

Deborah Barnes, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues calculated PARs for seven potentially modifiable risk factors (smoking, mid-life hypertension, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, depression, and low educational attainment) to project the potential impact of risk factor reduction on AD prevalence in the United States and worldwide. Together, the seven PARs contributed to more than 50 percent of AD cases worldwide and in the United States (54 and 59 percent, respectively). A 10 to 25 percent reduction of these PARs could potentially prevent 1.1 to 3.1 million AD cases worldwide and 188,000 to 507,000 cases in the United States.

Susanne Steinberg, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the predictors of resilient cognition in 100 adults aged 65 and older without any evidence of memory impairment at enrollment. Measures of stress, psychopathology, and a computerized CogState exam were obtained from participants during the baseline visit. The "resilience" population had low scores for six measures of stress, anxiety, depression and trauma; and, compared to normative data, was significantly different for stress, and personality traits subscales. Conscientiousness was the only personality trait that predicted performance on learning and working memory.

"These findings represent the initial steps in the development of a 'resilience index' that may allow early interventions to promote the maintenance of cognitive stability," Steinberg said in a statement.

Abstract - Barnes
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