A number of studies have shown links between people's physical health and their chances of developing Alzheimer's disease. Researchers from Columbia University in the U.S. have been following people for ten years as part of a study into cognitive aging and dementia. They used data about 156 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and followed their progress over the next few years. Because the researchers had followed people over a number of years they were able to see which people went downhill quickest after their diagnosis. They found that a history of diabetes and high cholesterol was associated with faster cognitive decline. Heart disease and stroke were associated with faster cognitive decline only in carriers of the APOE4 gene which has been implicated in late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at Columbia University have previously demonstrated links between stroke, diabetes, smoking and high blood pressure and a greater risk of Alzheimer's.
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