Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease: What Do We Know?

Introduction

The news is full of stories about ways to stay healthy, eat right, and keep fit. Along with keeping their bodies healthy, people want to keep their minds sharp as they age. They also want to avoid brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure, but recent research results are raising hopes that someday it might be possible to delay, slow down, or even prevent this devastating disease. The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead Federal agency for research related to Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and age-related cognitive decline. This booklet summarizes what scientists have learned so far and where research is headed.

There is no definitive evidence yet about what can prevent Alzheimer’s or age-related cognitive decline. What we do know is that a healthy lifestyle—one that includes a healthy diet, physical activity, appropriate weight, and no smoking—can maintain and improve overall health and well-being. Making healthy choices can also lower the risk of certain chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, and scientists are very interested in the possibility that a healthy lifestyle might have a beneficial effect on Alzheimer’s as well. In the meantime, as research continues to pinpoint what works to prevent Alzheimer’s, people of all ages can benefit from taking positive steps to get and stay healthy. (See So, What Can You Do?)

Publication Date: September 2012
Page Last Updated: April 18, 2014