Unlike age and genetics, certain health and lifestyle factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk may be controlled. Scientists are exploring prevention strategies to determine whether or not things like exercise, diet, and “brain games” can help delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. They are also investigating how certain medical conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, influence risk for cognitive impairment.

So far, studies have not demonstrated that, over the long term, health or lifestyle factors can prevent or slow Alzheimer’s disease or age-related cognitive decline. Similarly, clinical trial results do not support the use of any particular medication or dietary supplement to prevent these conditions.

Promising research in these areas is underway. The NIA supports more than 30 clinical trials, including many that are investigating possible ways to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease or age-related cognitive decline. Observational studies have associated factors such as physical activity, blood pressure, and diabetes control with changes in risk. More research is needed to determine whether these factors can in fact directly help prevent Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline.