Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease

Richard Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


A large number of possible risk factors have been associated with Alzheimer'sdisease (AD).This chapter discusses the validity of the major risk factors that have been identifiedincluding age, genetics, exposure to aluminum, head injury, malnutrition and diet,mitochondrial dysfunction, vascular disease, immune system dysfunction, and infectionand proposes a hypothesis to explain how these various risk factors may cause ADpathology.Rare forms of early-onset familial AD (FAD) are strongly linked to the presence ofspecific gene mutations, viz. mutations in amyloid precursor protein (APP) andpresenilin (PSEN1/2) genes. By contrast, late-onset sporadic AD (SAD) is amultifactorial disorder in which age-related changes, genetic risk factors, such as allelicvariation in apolipoprotein E (Apo E) gene, vascular disease, head injury and risk factorsassociated with diet, immune system, mitochondrial function, and infection may all beinvolved.These risk factors interact to increase the rate of normal aging (=allostatic load')which over a lifetime results in degeneration of neurons and blood vessels and as aconsequence, the formation of abnormally aggregated =reactive' proteins such as ß-amyloid (Aß) and tau leading to the development of senile plaques (SP) andneurofibrillary tangles (NFT) respectively. Life-style changes that may reduce theallostatic load and therefore, the risk of dementia are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDementia
Subtitle of host publicationprevalence, risk factors and management strategies
EditorsPamela Turner
PublisherNova science
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63321-945-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-63321-928-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Publication series

Name Neurology - laboratory and clinical research developments
PublisherNova Science Publishers


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Risk factor
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Environmental factor
  • Allostatic load


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this