N° 16 | October 2007

The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases

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The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases increases with age and clearly represent a major public health problem in aging populations. Strategies for the prevention of dementia are therefore needed. Furthermore the onset of ND is insidious and the neurodegenerative process may exist for many years before dementia.

ND can be influenced by many factors; among them several nutrients may play an important role. Higher intake of several nutrients (vitamins C, E, B12, folates, flavonoïds, unsaturated fatty acids) have been associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer disease or slower cognitive decline. However results of different available studies are contradictory and may suggest the importance of combination of several anti-oxidants.

There is now converging evidence that composite dietary patterns as Mediterranean Diet or consumption of fruits or vegetables are related not only to lower risk for cardiovascular diseases but also to slower cognitive decline or reduction in risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and attractive hypotheses are suggested.

Converging results of future prospective studies of long duration including patients at early stage and controlling for known confounding factors should lead to specific recommendations in the future.

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