Lifestyle factors and AD pathology and clinical expression

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Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is thought to result from multiple interacting factors. Certain lifestyle choices are presumed to decrease one’s likelihood of developing AD. Regular exercise, healthy diet, social and mental activity, along with adequate high-quality sleep have all been linked to a healthier brain and a reduced risk of developing AD.

We recently received an Alzheimer’s Association Research grant to develop an online platform to collect extensive information daily lifestyle, including diet, physical activity, and sleep.

Ongoing Research

Assess links between lifestyle factors and the early buildup of these biomarkers, which indicate AD before it can typically be diagnosed clinically.

  1. Investigate the association between lifestyle habits – singly or in combination – on change in AD pathology, using CSF and PET imaging of Aβ and tau proteins.
  2. Assess the impact of lifestyle on the integrity of cognition and the brain in individuals with and without AD pathology.
Click here to see past research

In a previous study, we have shown that higher lifetime cognitive activity is related to lower brain pathological burden, as indicated by lower cortical PIB retention and lower WML (white matter lesion) volumes, and that higher current physical activity predicted lower WML volumes. This study is published in Neurobiology of aging [pubmed].

Figure: Age, gender, and years of education-adjusted path diagram for lifetime cognitive activity and current physical activity, biomarkers, and global cognitive functioning.


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