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New Study Finds Lifestyle Changes Can Help Prevent Onset of Vascular DementiaAired May 2, 2000 - 2:11 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: One more reason to eat healthy and exercise: there's new evidence today that lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of one form of dementia. CNN medical correspondent Rhonda Rowland is here.
Rhonda, this finding comes from the American Academy of Neurology meeting in San Diego apparently.
RHONDA ROWLAND, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And dementia and memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease is something most of are familiar with, but many people have never heard of vascular dementia, even though it is the second-leading cause of memory loss. Patients with both diseases may have similar memory problems, but vascular dementia is thought to be caused by many small strokes deep in the brain.
Now the new study shows how healthy you are during mid-life, that is between the ages of 40 and 60, may set the stage for vascular dementia. Researchers have been following 3500 Japanese-American men since the early 1960s. They monitored their weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
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LENORE LAUNER, NATL. INSTITUTE ON AGING: We looked at the relationship people individuals who had more than one of these risk factors, and the risk for subsequent vascular dementia 30-35 years later. And we found that individuals that had more than one of these risk factors did have an increased risk for vascular dementia.
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ROWLAND: Launer says, each risk factor increased the chances of vascular dementia risk by about 10 percent -- Lou.
WATERS: It would seem then that treatment of blood pressure and triclycerides to avoid these strokes would be -- is there any way to do that?
ROWLAND: Yes, there is. And you've heard it many times before: exercise, eat right, get your weight down. All these types of things can definitely help, and you have to start early in your 20 and your 30s. One doctor we talked to said, by the time you are 45, you're already starting to develop hardening of the arteries, and a few years later, it may be irreversible.
Now, Lou, that doesn't mean that by the time you are 50 or 60 that it's too late to do anything.
WATERS: I was just going to say, if you are 55 to 65, you are sitting at home now: Forget about it.
ROWLAND: No, no, you should never stop trying because it can make some difference. And now knowing that you can try to preserve your memory should give you more incentive.
WATERS: OK, thanks, Rhonda.
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