Lifestyle may be more important than age in determining dementia risk

Credit: Astrid Schaffner/Unsplash.

Scientists from Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care found people with no dementia risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes or hearing loss, have similar brain health as people who are 10 to 20 years younger than them.

They found that a single dementia risk factor could reduce cognition by the equivalent of up to three years of aging.

The results suggest lifestyle factors may be more important than age in determining someone’s level of cognitive functioning.

The research is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment, and Disease Monitoring and was conducted by Dr. Annalise LaPlume et al.

In the study, the team used data from 22,117 people aged 18 to 89. Participants took the test in their own homes. The test takes around 20 minutes to complete and consists of a background questionnaire and four cognitive tasks.

The researchers looked at participants’ performance on memory and attention tests, and how this was impacted by eight modifiable risk factors for dementia:

low education (less than a high school diploma), hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, alcohol or substance abuse, hypertension, smoking (currently or in the past four years), diabetes and depression.

The team found each factor led to a decrease in cognitive performance by as much as three years of aging, with each additional factor contributing the same amount of decline.

For example, having three risk factors could lead to a decrease in cognitive performance equivalent to as much as nine years of aging.

The effects of the risk factors increased with age, as did the number of risk factors people had.

All in all, this research shows that people have the power to decrease the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

The researchers are considering looking further into the differences between normal agers and “super agers”—people who have the identical cognitive performance to those several decades younger than them.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about 12 things that could prevent dementia effectively, and keeping your brain active may delay Alzheimer’s dementia 5 years.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antibiotic drug that could effectively treat common dementia, and Mediterranean diet may strongly prevent dementia, memory loss.

Copyright © 2022 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.