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Alzheimer's Research Goal: A Workable Test by 2025

( photo: Eric Berman)

It's the only disease among the 10 leading causes of death for which there is no known treatment. But Indiana University Alzheimer's researchers say we're getting closer.

The Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center is celebrating its 25th birthday this year. Director Andrew Saykin says research has established all those things your mom told you to do to take care of yourself do in fact reduce the risk of Alzheimer's: exercise, sufficient sleep, eating healthy foods, and keeping your weight down.

Researchers have also identified a gene which increases the risk of Alzheimer's, though Saykin cautions it's only present in 3% of the cases. The other 97% have a genetic link too, but a more complicated one, involving gene combos drawn from 25 different genes.

Saykin predicts the eventual solution will involve a cocktail of different drugs and behaviors -- and might vary from person to person, depending on genetic makeup. 

National researchers have set a goal of developing a test for Alzheimer's by 2025.

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