Dr Deborah Barnes and Dr Kristine Yaffe from the University of California, San Francisco, looked at the evidence for potentially modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers concluded that up to half of Alzheimer’s disease cases could result from seven risk factors. These seven were: smoking, lack of physical activity, lack of mental activity, uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes, and obesity and depression.
Dr Barnes and Dr Yaffe found that low education and smoking were the two factors which could potentially be attributed to the greatest number of cases.
‘The most effective strategies for lowering Alzheimer’s disease prevalence might be public education campaigns and smoking cessation initiatives,’ they said.
They concluded: ‘Randomised controlled trials are crucially needed to directly assess the effect of single and multiple risk factor reduction strategies on Alzheimer’s disease.’
The research was published online in The Lancet Neurology and also presented at The Alzheimer's Association 2011 International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Paris.