Lifestyle Changes may Reduce Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease: Study

Results of a new study suggest that lifestyle actions that help in slowing down the inflammation of the nervous tissue can have significantly help mitigate the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. For the study, researchers investigated several modifiable risk factors for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, focusing on the role of neuroinflammation in causing or advancing neurodegenerative diseases.

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are among the most common neurodegenerative diseases and are the most common disorders that lead to dementia, increasingly contributing to mortality and morbidity across the globe.

Researchers have found that neuroinflammation is a common link between the two conditions, which is primarily triggered due to the presence of the pathological molecular structures that are closely associated with these diseases. Chronic neuroinflammation is caused when the non-neuronal glial cells in the brain are persistently activated. This results in the death or damage of neighboring cells, which include neurons along with glial cells.

Consistent neuroinflammation is considered to be a key contributory factor to neurodegeneration commonly seen in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The researchers have observed four modifiable risk factors for the two conditions: obesity, vascular disease or related condition, physical inactivity, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Researchers suggest that these risk factors contribute to neuroinflammation in the brain through specific mechanisms that are linked directly to the pathologies of the conditions. As these risk factors are modifiable, i.e. their occurrence can be reduced or to a certain level also avoided by making some changes in lifestyles, the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases can also be avoided or their risk reduced.

The study is published in the journal Current Aging Science.

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