Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2012, 156(2):108-114 | 10.5507/bp.2012.055
Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It is a degenerative, incurable and terminal disease. The increasing prevalence of AD is, among other reasons, due to population aging, which is, to a certain extent, seen worldwide. Continuous advances in health care keep increasing life expectancy. Official statistics are likely to significantly underestimate the actual prevalence of AD. Alzheimer's disease represents an important public health problem. Its aetiology is still unknown and for this reason, it is necessary to study all potential risk factors which may contribute to the development of this disease.
Methods: We searched original and review articles addressing Alzheimer's disease using key words Alzheimer's disease, epidemiology, risk factors and prevention. We found and used one hundred and four references.
Conclusions: Based on epidemiological studies, genetic studies, neuroimaging methods and neuropathology research, three basic etiological hypotheses of the development of AD have been formulated: genetic, vascular and psychosocial. At present, the level of evidence is insufficient for the etiological role of other factors, such as nutrition, occupational exposure to various substances and inflammation. From the point of view of early diagnosis and application of primary or secondary prevention principles, genetic factors are the most important.
Received: September 9, 2011; Accepted: May 17, 2012; Prepublished online: June 14, 2012; Published: June 1, 2012