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Alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity may help predict Alzheimer

Maria Rosa, 70, a patient with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, and former business administrator, poses for a photograph inside the Alzheimer Foundation in Mexico city, April 19, 2012. Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disease that robs people of memory, reasoning and the ability to communicate. About 24 million people worldwide have the disease, according to the World Health Organization. In Mexico, 600,000 Mexicans out of 9 million adults over the age 60 suffer from Alzheimer's, according to the Institute of Geriatrics (INGER). Picture taken April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido (MEXICO - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)

Washington DC, July 29 (ANI): A new study suggests that alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity and diabetes are associated with smaller regional brain volumes that may be early indicators of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Assistant Professor Dr. Kevin S. King said that they already knew that vascular risk factors damage the brain and could result in cognitive impairment, and the findings provided a more concrete idea about the relationship between specific vascular risk factors and brain health.

The researchers analysed results from 1,629 individuals in the Dallas Heart Study (DHS) and divided the participants into two age groups.

There were 805 participants under age 50, and 824 age 50 and older.

The team was able to distinguish the specific risk factors of alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes, and obesity and their relationship to smaller volumes in the three targeted regions of the brain.

According to the results, lower cognitive test scores correlated with lower brain volumes in each area.

The study found that risk factors of alcohol use and diabetes were associated with smaller total brain volume, while smoking and obesity were linked with reduced volumes of the posterior cingulate cortex, the area of the brain connected with memory retrieval as well as emotional and social behavior.

The study is published online in the journal Radiology. (ANI)