Unintended benefits

Unintended benefits:  When you take action to protect yourself from diabetes and cardiovascular disease, chances are you also protect your brain. 

Results from a 2011 study suggest almost half of all Alzheimer’s disease cases in the U.S. can be attributed to seven modifiable risk factors:  diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, smoking, depression, cognitive inactivity, and physical inactivity.   Reducing those risk factors by even 10% could reduce the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease by 1.1 million (1). 

Reducing the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease could also improve our governments’ budgets.  A 2014 analysis concluded that if older Americans reduce their cardiovascular diseases by 10%, it could protect them from dementia and save Medicare and Medicaid $37 billion (2).  The potential economic impact of addressing these and other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease were assessed in a recent Health Affairs article co-authored by ADDF Executive Director and Chief Science Officer, Dr. Howard Fillit (2).

1.            Barnes, D.E. and K. Yaffe, The projected effect of risk factor reduction on Alzheimer's disease prevalence. Lancet Neurol., 2011. 10(9): p. 819-828.

2.            Lin, P.J., et al., Unintended benefits: the potential economic impact of addressing risk factors to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Health Aff (Millwood), 2014. 33(4): p. 547-54.

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