Study Shows Alzheimer’s Hits Earlier in Smokers, Drinkers

By KATHLEEN FACKELMANN
USA Today
Apr. 17, 2008

Heavy smokers and drinkers develop Alzheimer’s years before people who don’t drink or smoke as much, a new report says.

The study, presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Chicago, suggests heavy drinking and smoking might be accelerating damage to the brain, which could lead to Alzheimer’s.

ut the flip side of the study is a message of hope: People who cut back or stop habits such as excessive smoking or drinking might reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s at a younger age. Instead of struggling with forgetfulness at age 59, such people might delay symptoms until age 65 or 70, says researcher Ranjan Duara of the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.

Duara and his colleagues examined 938 people ages 60 and older with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, a disease that causes confusion, memory loss and behavioral problems. The team asked family members to provide patients’ histories of drinking and smoking. Then the team identified patients who had APOE4, a gene that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s late in life.

Read more here: ABC News

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