Alzheimer's Matters Blog

6 Things to Know About Alzheimer’s

March 16, 2015

Category: Understanding Dementia

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton

We’ve all heard that diet and exercise are the keys to living healthy lives, but did you know that they may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s? Or that researchers are investigating drugs that may restore memory?

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton, a leading researcher funded by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), joined our Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer Dr. Howard Fillit to discuss the latest in Alzheimer’s research and drug development during a recent episode of Alzheimer’s Talks.

Named “Woman of the Year” by Los Angeles Magazine, Dr. Brinton is the R. Pete Vanderveen Chair in Therapeutic Discovery and Development and Professor of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Engineering and Neurology at the University of Southern California.

Her conversation with Dr. Fillit emphasized six things you should know about Alzheimer's.

1. Age is still the number one risk factor. Age remains the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, helping to explain why this disease disproportionately affects women, who live on average five years longer than men. But age alone does not explain the increased risk for women, so more research is needed.

2. Sooner rather than later. Identifying symptoms and intervening at the earliest stage of cognitive impairment is critical to preparing for and potentially even preventing the onset of dementia.

3. Diet and exercise. Just like our bodies, our brains need the right food and exercise to thrive. Increasing movement throughout the day and reducing sugar consumption are two keys to maintaining good brain health. The ADDF’s website,, provides science-backed ratings of dementia prevention strategies to help you make smart choices for long-term brain health.

4. One size does not fit all. There are many different ways to develop Alzheimer’s, and it’s unlikely that a singular drug will work for all. We are exploring diverse drug targets and combination therapies so every patient will have effective treatment options.  

5. Clinical trials are recruiting. Dr. Brinton has discovered that the hormone allopregnanolone generates new neurons in the brain that can restore memory function and reduce the pathology of Alzheimer’s. This first-ever regenerative therapeutic is currently being tested in clinical trials. [Learn more about enrolling in the clinical trial.]

6. Researchers are ready for your help. Following decades of research and drug development, many drugs are now being tested in clinical trials. The single best thing you can do is give researchers the opportunity to learn more from you. Participate in a clinical trial, or ask your physician if it's possible to make your information (anonymously) available to Alzheimer’s researchers.