(Taken from an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article dated today,
entitled, "Evidence links heart disease risks to Alzheimer's," written my Emma Ross, AP, London)
"Mounting evidence indicates the risk factors for heart disease -- high blood pressure, diabetes, excess weight, high cholesterol and lack of exercise -- may play a role in Alzheimer's disease."
"Studies to be presented next week at an Alzheimer's conference in Stockholm give scientists a better understanding of the disease."
"Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain disease that causes memory loss, disorientation, depression and decay of bodily functions. The disease afflicts about 12 million people worldwide, including more than 4 million Americans. Experts predict that more than 22 million people worldwide will be affected by 2025."
"Scientists do not know what causes the sticky brain deposits that inevitably kill neural cells until memory disintegrates and ultimately the patient dies. The biggest risk for Alzheimer's is age:
Alzheimer's cases double with every five years of age between 65 and 85."
"Several studies to be presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders -- the largest gathering of Alheimer's researchers -- indicated that people may be able to reduce their chances of developing Alzheimer's by treating high blood pressure."
"One 21-year study, by Miia Kivipelto of the University of Kuopio in Finland, examined 1,449 people. It found that high cholesterol and high blood pressure seemed to be more strongly linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer's than was a certain gene variation."
"However, it seems that having high blood pressure only in later life is not connected to Alzheimer's."
"'Since high blood pressure can be controlled, we may have identified something people can do to lower their chance of developing Alzheimer's,' said William Thies, vice president of medical and scientific affairs at the Chicago-based Alzheimer's Association."
One thing is for sure: since I started bicycling to work, I have lost 25 pounds and my blood pressure dropped from 140/90 to 120/70 (or sometimes, 130/80.)