Authors: Olivia Stevenson (Future Science Group)
Research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC; 14–18 July 2019, CA, USA) has suggested that healthy lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and cognitive stimulation may potentially reduce the risk of developing dementia. This could be valuable information in the development of future lifestyle recommendations.
It is widely accepted that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), however, the impact of a healthy lifestyle is less clear. Studies presented at AAIC have provided novel insight into the relationship between lifestyle factors and dementia.
Could adopting multiple healthy lifestyle factors reduce dementia risk?
Researchers from Rush University Medical Center (IL, USA) and colleagues examined how healthy lifestyle factors might mitigate the risk of AD. They determined that the risk of developing AD was reduced by approximately 60% in study participants who adopted four or five healthy lifestyle factors such as physical activity, light to moderate alcohol intake and engagement in cognitively stimulating activities, compared with participants who followed one or none of these factors.
Abstract: Dhana K. Impact of healthy lifestyle factors on the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia; findings from two prospective cohort studies. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, 14–18 July 2019, CA, USA.
Healthy lifestyle could counteract genetic risk for dementia
A second study investigated whether the adoption of these healthy lifestyle factors could possibly have an impact on individuals with a high genetic risk of dementia. A team from the University of Exeter Medical School (UK) investigated the relationship between genetic risk and a healthy lifestyle. The 1769 participants were categorized into high, intermediate and low genetic risk, as well as favorable, intermediate and unfavorable lifestyle based on their diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption.