Heart Disease Linked to Alzheimer's
Reported July 17, 2009
(Ivanhoe Newswire) Though discoveries about Alzheimer's disease are
often in the news, a new study reveals that American adults are unaware of
the relationship between Alzheimer's disease risk and heart health, and that
physical activity can protect against dementia.
"There's a strong and credible association between heart health and brain
health. If people learn about and do some simple lifestyle modifications,
such as being more physically active and eating a brain healthy diet, Maria
Carrillo, PhD, Director of Medical & Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer's
Association, is quoted as saying, it could have an enormous impact on our
nation's public health and the cost of healthcare."
Colleen E. Jackson, M.S., a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the
University of Connecticut, and colleagues conducted an anonymous online
survey of 690 adults to measure "dementia literacy" -- knowledge and beliefs
regarding the recognition, management, and prevention of Alzheimer's.
The age range of the survey population was 30 to 85 years. Seventy-six
percent of respondents were female. All participants were from the United
States or other English-speaking countries. The sample was relatively
wealthy and well-educated.
The researchers found 64 percent of study participants incorrectly indicated
no association between Alzheimer's and obesity or high blood pressure.
Sixty-six percent did not know that high stress is a risk factor for
dementia, and 34 percent did not know that physical exercise is a protective
factor. On the positive side, nearly all study participants correctly
indicated that Alzheimer's is not normal aging, and is not completely based
"Our data suggest that American adults have limited knowledge and a poor
understanding of factors that have been demonstrated to increase risk for
Alzheimer's, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and other heart health
risk factors," Jackson is quoted as saying. "They also didn't know much
about protective factors against Alzheimer's, such as physical exercise . .
. .We need more education programs and opportunities, across all demographic
groups, focusing on behaviors that modify your risk for developing
SOURCE: Presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on
Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2009), July 13, 2009