Bad news, people. Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented. 

That might actually sound like good news, especially for those destined to be in our care. But here’s the dark side: Recent research suggests avoiding this dreaded disease might actually require personal responsibility and making better choices.

Darn it, I knew there was a catch. 

A recent study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference identified five lifestyle habits that combined could reduce the risk by 60%.

They’re just simple little things: eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, cut back on alcohol and get some daily cognitive stimulation. In other words, it’s impossible. 

I’m a pretty typical American. If I wanted my health to be dependent on personal choices, I’d have saved for retirement, thrown out the TV, bought long-term care insurance and quit tanning with baby oil. 

“As recent efforts to develop a cure … for dementia have proved disappointing, the fact that people can exert some control in preventing the disease through their own choices is encouraging news,” said one story on the study.

Encouraging to whom? Not to me. I prefer an instant, external solution. Something that solves the problem without effort and lets me keep doing what I want. 

Two of the five I could manage. I don’t smoke, and I avidly read McKnight’s to maintain mental alertness. But now they also want me to eat daily kale, visit the gym five times a week and reduce my wine consumption to a glass a day? Simultaneously? 

Famous Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was big on self-control and discipline. “Where is Good? In our reasoned choices,” he wrote. “Where is Evil? In our reasoned choices.” He’s probably right, but he’s also dead. 

So find a real cure for Alzheimer’s. A pill. A magic potion. Anything. Just please don’t make this about me.