UL scientist examines ways to beat Alzheimer’s disease

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

ADOPTING better lifestyle choices can help people avoid Alzheimer’s disease, specifically if people take anti-inflammatory medication, reduce stress and lower their cholesterol, a neuroscientist at the University of Limerick believes.

ADOPTING better lifestyle choices can help people avoid Alzheimer’s disease, specifically if people take anti-inflammatory medication, reduce stress and lower their cholesterol, a neuroscientist at the University of Limerick believes.

Professor Billy O’Connor, head of teaching and research in physiology in UL’s medical school, said while the disease is the result of both genes and lifestyle, it is not inevitable. “It is distinct from the normal ageing of your brain.  Once people reach the ages of 40 - 50 they naturally start suffering memory loss, which is separate from Alzheimer’s,” he said.

Some 20% of people aged between 75-85 have Alzheimer’s, but research suggests that the disease will have tripled by 2040.  

Speaking at a talk entitled “Alzheimer’s disease - and ways to avoid it”, Prof O’Connor discussed possible breakthroughs in preventing Alzheimer’s.

He said people who take the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen daily are also prevented from early onset Alzheimer’s.  

Professor O’Connor said that a healthy diet and lifestyle can play a huge role in preventing Alzheimer’s, especially the use of fish oils.

In addition, he said people who are curious and inquisitive and ‘use their brains’ in their jobs are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.  

But those who are stressed are more pre-disposed to Alzheimer’s, so stress relieving activities should be part of our daily lives.