PARIS - Millions of cases of Alzheimer's could be prevented by altering lifestyle habits which increase risk of the tragic memory-robbing disease, scientists said on Monday.
Alzheimer's is an age-related brain condition that experts suspect is influenced by both genes and the environment.
The population boom and longer lifespans mean that more than 106 million people will be living with Alzheimer's by 2050 compared with 30 million in 2010, according to predictions.
The study, led by Carol Brayne, a professor of public health at at the University of Cambridge, looked at seven risk factors for which there was strong evidence of an association with the disease.
These were diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, physical inactivity, depression, smoking and low educational attainment.
By reducing the relative risk from each of these factors by 10 per cent, it should be possible to slash global prevalence of Alzheimer's in 2050 by 8.5 per cent, preventing nine million cases, it said.
A 2011 estimate said that as many as one in two cases of Alzheimer's could be prevented through changes in lifestyle and personal wellbeing.
But the new study said that this estimate was too high, as some of the risk factors are intertwined.