ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Hospital Practices Influence Which Moms Will Breast-Feed
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
DIET, NUTRITION
Functional Foods Uncovered
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Added Sugars in Diet Threaten Heart Health
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Cats Can Trigger Eczema in Some Infants
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Maximize Your Run
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
To Quit Smoking, Try Logging On
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
Too-Low Blood Pressure Can Also Bring Danger
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
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Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk

(HealthDay News) -- Eating a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, legumes and healthy fats, and increasing physical activity levels can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a new study shows.

The latest research, published in the Aug. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, is more evidence that healthy living can help ward off cognitive decline.

Following both healthy habits is a plus, said study author Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, an assistant professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "There is some evidence [already] that a healthy diet, the Mediterranean diet, may be protective for our risk of getting Alzheimer's disease," he said. "In the current study we wanted to see if there was an independent effect of physical activity and diet."

So Scarmeas and his team looked at 1,880 men and women without dementia living in New York, average age 77, and gave them tests every 1.5 years from 1992 through 2006, evaluating how well they followed a Mediterranean-type diet and their weekly participation in various physical activities. Those in the highest group got a median of 1.3 hours of vigorous activity or 2.4 hours of moderate-intensity exercise every week.

Scarmeas' team followed the elders for an average of 5.4 years, finding that 282 developed Alzheimer's disease during that time.

"There was an association between both a healthy diet and physical activity and reducing risk for Alzheimer's disease," Scarmeas said.

Those who ate well and exercised had a 60 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease compared with those who didn't follow either good health habit, he said. "It's a very significant reduction," he added.

Exactly which components of the Mediterranean diet seem to confer benefit isn't known. "It could be there are individual elements of the diet that are important," Scarmeas said. "But it could be the interaction."

In another study published earlier this year, Scarmeas found that those who adhere to a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment, and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease if they already had cognitive impairment.

In a second study in the same journal, researchers (including Scarmeas) looked at 1,410 French adults and found adherence to a Mediterranean diet was linked to slower decline on one cognitive test but not others. They didn't find high adherence to the heart-healthy diet linked with the risk for dementia.

In an editorial, the Mayo Clinic's Dr. David Knopman writes that a healthy diet may help prevent Alzheimer's but does not seem to occur in isolation.

"For such a benign intervention as diet and exercise, 60 percent [reduction in Alzheimer's] is substantial," said Dr. Greg Cole, associate director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research at the University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.

Already, about 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association, and up to 16 million may have it by 2050.

"So, the 60 percent reduction from diet and exercise can have a huge impact because we are talking about so many millions of people," Cole said.

The findings are in line with what the Alzheimer's Association already recommends in its "Maintain Your Brain" program, said William H. Thies, vice president for medical and scientific relations for the organization.

"One of the things that is important [to note] is, they are looking at normal people," he said, not those who already have the disease. "You aren't going to cure Alzheimer's disease by eating lots of olives."

SOURCES: William H. Thies, Ph.D., vice president, medical and scientific relations, Alzheimer's Association; Greg Cole, Ph.D., associate director, Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer's Disease Research, and professor, medicine and neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine; Nikolaos Scarmeas, M.D., assistant professor, neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City; Aug. 12, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association Published on: August 11, 2009