Alzheimer's disease: risk factors and potentially protective measures

J Biomed Sci. 2019 May 9;26(1):33. doi: 10.1186/s12929-019-0524-y.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia and typically manifests through a progressive loss of episodic memory and cognitive function, subsequently causing language and visuospatial skills deficiencies, which are often accompanied by behavioral disorders such as apathy, aggressiveness and depression. The presence of extracellular plaques of insoluble β-amyloid peptide (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) containing hyperphosphorylated tau protein (P-tau) in the neuronal cytoplasm is a remarkable pathophysiological cause in patients' brains. Approximately 70% of the risk of developing AD can be attributed to genetics. However, acquired factors such as cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and dyslipidemia increase the risk of AD development. The aim of the present minireview was to summarize the pathophysiological mechanism and the main risk factors for AD. As a complement, some protective factors associated with a lower risk of disease incidence, such as cognitive reserve, physical activity and diet will also be addressed.

Keywords: Acquired risk factors; Alzheimer’s disease; Genetic risk factors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Cognitive Reserve*
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors