September 22, 2010...4:42 pm

New Harris Poll Reveals Americans Believe Alzheimer’s is Preventable

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American baby boomers are upbeat about their chances of avoiding and slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and do not believe it is entirely genetic, according to a new Harris Poll, released for World Alzheimer’s Day, Tuesday, September 21.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they “strongly or somewhat disagreed” with the statement: “There is little a person can do to avoid developing Alzheimer’s and losing their memory as a result of it as they get older.”

Moreover, fifty-two percent “strongly or somewhat agreed” with the statement: “There is some real evidence that if a person eats healthy foods and regularly exercises and maintains good health that they can be prevented from developing Alzheimer’s entirely.”

The Harris Interactive online poll was conducted among 538 adults aged 60 and over during the week of September 9-13, and commissioned by Little, Brown and Company, publishers of bestselling author Jean Carper’s 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss ( Little Brown/September 20, 2010 ).

Carper, who carries the major gene for late onset Alzheimer’s ( after age 60, ) said she was “totally surprised and heartened by the results.” “This means the public is far ahead of a recent government panel’s conclusion that there’s little or nothing you can do to slow down or prevent Alzheimer’s. Despite the constant dreary headlines that Alzheimer’s is hopeless and inevitable, most older Americans, fortunately, are not buying that message,” said Carper.

“I believe many Alzheimer’s researchers will be cheered and surprised to learn they are making progress in changing the prevailing view of Alzheimer’s from one of no hope to one of hope and prevention,” she added.

The new Harris Poll also disputes the commonly held belief that Alzheimer’s’ is genetically determined from birth. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they “strongly or somewhat disagreed” that “Alzheimer’s is something a person is born with and is likely to develop in old age.”

Eighty percent also “strongly or somewhat agreed” that “There is some real evidence that if a person eats healthy foods and regularly exercises and maintains good health that the progression of Alzheimer’s can be slowed.”

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