In a new study, researchers found that living a healthy lifestyle may help offset a person’s genetic risk of dementia.
This is the first study to analyze the extent to which people may offset their genetic risk of dementia by living a healthy lifestyle.
The research was led by the University of Exeter.
In the new study, the team analyzed data from 196,383 adults of European ancestry aged 60 and older from UK Biobank.
They identified 1,769 cases of dementia over a follow-up period of eight years. The team grouped the participants into those with high, intermediate and low genetic risk for dementia.
To test the effects of lifestyle, researchers grouped participants into favorable, intermediate and unfavorable categories based on their self-reported diet, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
No current smoking, regular physical activity, healthy diet and moderate alcohol drinking as healthy behaviors.
Generally, living a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced dementia risk across all genetic risk groups.
The team also found that the risk of dementia was 32% lower in people with a high genetic risk if they had followed a healthy lifestyle, compared with those who had an unhealthy lifestyle.
People with high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop dementia compared to those with low genetic risk and healthy lifestyle.
The findings show that people can take action to try to offset their genetic risk for dementia.
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle was linked to a reduced risk of dementia, regardless of the genetic risk.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Ilianna Lourida from the University of Exeter Medical School.
The study is published in JAMA and presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 in Los Angeles.
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