How can early treatment affect the progression of dementia?
In a way the question about early treatment and progression is one that applies to us all. As the brain ages it will develop Alzheimer’s change, and by the time one gets into one’s 90s then it’s almost inevitable that there are the pathologies about Alzheimer’s disease. And so there have been many studies that have shown, again, keeping one’s general health as good as possible is a way of preventing or delaying the onset. And, in fact, exercise turns out to be very, very important in trying to keep the brain healthy. In relation to specific interventions, there is some controversies to whether any diet or vitamin supplementations maybe of help. We do discuss diet with patients that I see and indeed dietary supplements but there’s not a lot of strong evidence that you can prevent dementia through any specific intervention to do with diet or vitamin supplementation.
Certainly having a healthy diet is very, very important. In relation to specific drug treatments nothing to date has been shown to forestall or prevent the onset of dementia, but clearly, as we may discuss in a moment there are drug therapies which are very helpful should a diagnosis be reached.