News / Health

Studies Raise New Hope on Alzheimer's Prevention

FILE - Alzheimer's disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal, Sept.15, 2009.
FILE - Alzheimer's disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal, Sept.15, 2009.
VOA News

Scientists say lifestyle changes, such as healthier eating and more education, could prevent people from developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Several studies presented this week at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen support this view.

One trial in Finland found two years of exercising, diet, cognitive training and other changes improved people's memory function.

Research also shows a decline in the rate of dementia in the United States, Germany and other developed countries.  A U.S. study concluded an American over age 60 today has a 44 percent lower chance of developing dementia than a person the same age 30 years ago.

Researchers say reasons for this could be declines in smoking, heart disease and strokes - all factors linked to dementia - as well as improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

But scientists caution that the growth of diabetes and obesity could offset these gains.  And in poor countries, behind in education and health, dementia seems to be rising.

In the United States, more than five million people have Alzheimer's.  The non-profit Alzheimer's Disease International says dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common form, affects more than 44 million people worldwide.  The group says that number is expected to triple to more than 135 million by 2050.

The age-related brain condition, which gradually robs patients of their ability to think, remember and care for themselves, is rising partly because people are living longer.

In addition to the focus on lifestyle as prevention, some are looking to medications to fight Alzheimer's.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis plans to test two experimental Alzheimer's drugs in people who are genetically predisposed to the disease, but do not yet have symptoms.  The company is collaborating with the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in the U.S. state of Arizona.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs