Scientists are close to reaching a long-sought goal – a blood test to identify possible signs of Alzheimer's and other diseases of the brain.
This comes as a recent large study shows healthy behavior can cut a person's risk of developing such conditions, even if they have genes that raise that risk.
At the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on July 15, six research groups presented new results on several experimental tests. This included one that appears to be 88 percent accurate at identifying Alzheimer's risk.
Doctors are hoping for something to use during regular exams that can measure most signs of brain-destroying diseases. They could make better decisions about which patients need additional testing. Current tools such as brain scans and spinal fluid tests are too costly or difficult to do during regular meetings with patients.
We need something quicker ... It doesn't have to be perfect to be useful, said Maria Carrillo, chief science officer for the Alzheimer's Association.
Recent progress in dealing with conditions like Alzheimer's has not been limited to treatment.
It showed that people with high genetic risk and poor health habits were about three times more likely to develop dementia than those with low genetic risk and good habits. And, with any level of genetic risk, a good diet, regular exercise, limited alcohol use and no tobacco use made dementia less likely.
After about eight years of observation, 1.8 percent of those with high genetic risk and unhealthy behavior had developed dementia.
John Haaga of the National Institute on Aging says the study results are good news.
No one can guarantee you'll escape this ... disease but clean living can improve your chances, Haaga said.
One limitation of the study is that researchers only had information on mutations affecting people of European ancestry.
The results should ease fears that gene mutations alone decide one's brain health, said Rudy Tanzi, a genetics expert at Massachusetts General Hospital. Less than 5 percent of the mutations tied to Alzheimer's are fully penetrant, meaning that they guarantee a person will get the disease, he said.
That means that with 95 percent of the mutations, your lifestyle will make a difference, Tanzi said. Don't be too worried about your genetics. Spend more time being mindful of living a healthy life.
I'm Dorothy Gundy.
And I'm Pete Musto.
1.mutation n. 突变，变异
It is to be investigated whether this mutation is associated with virulence.
2.spend time doing sth 花时间做某事
I like to spend time with my kids or my wife.
在7月15日举行的阿兹海默症协会国际会议上，6个研究组展示了几项实验的新测试结果 。其中一项实验鉴别阿兹海默症风险的准确率高达88% 。
医生们希望有什么工具可以在常规检查中使用，这种工具要能够测量脑部受损疾病的大多数迹象 。这样一来，医生就可以更好地决定哪些病人需要额外的检测 。现存的工具，比如脑补扫描和脊髓液检测都价格昂贵，而且与患者的常规见面中也很难实现 。
我们需要更为快捷的手段……这种手段不一定要很完美才有用，玛利亚如是说道 。她是阿兹海默症协会的首席科学官 。
研究表明，遗传危险高的人以及卫生习惯差的人，其患阿兹海默症的可能性是遗传危险低、生活习惯好的人的近3倍 。此外，无论遗传危险高不高，只要饮食健康、经常运动、饮酒有节制、不抽烟，那么患阿兹海默症的风险就会更低 。
研究结果应该缓解了人们的担忧，之前大家都担心只有基因突变能决定人类的脑部健康，鲁迪如是说道 。他是麻省综合医院的基因学专家 。与阿兹海默症有关的突变中，少于5%的情况是完全显性的，显性的意思是一定会得脑类疾病，他如是说道 。
也就是说，基因突变的人中，有95%的人可以通过保持好的生活习惯来降低患病风险 。不要太担心基因的问题了，花更多的时间在健康生活上吧 。
Dorothy Gundy为您播报 。
I'm Pete Musto为您播报 。