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Prevention of age-associated dementia.
Brain Research Bulletin
The advancement of medical sciences during the last century has resulted in a considerable increase in life expectancy. As more people live to old age, one of the most fundamental questions of the 21st century is whether the number of individuals suffering from dementia will also continue to increase. Alzheimer's disease (AD) accounts for the majority of cases of dementia in the elderly, but there is currently no curative treatment available. Several strategies have been introduced for treatment, the most recent strategy of which was the immunization of patients using antibodies against Abeta, which is a naturally occurring, even though misfolded peptide in the AD brain. Both active and passive immunization routes have been shown to reduce the pathology associated with Abeta accumulation in brains of genetically designed animal models. However, despite tremendous efforts, no unequivocal proof of therapeutic efficacy could be shown in AD patients. Particularly, the persistence of the neurofibrillary tangles in immunized brains and the issue of inducing cerebral amyloid angiopathy are major limiting factors of antibody therapy. Furthermore, physical activity, a healthy immune system and nutritional habits are suggested to protect against the onset of age-associated dementia. Thus, accumulative evidence suggests that an early integrated strategy, combining pharmacological, immunological, nutritional and life-style factors, is the most pragmatic approach to delay the onset and progression of age-associated dementia.
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