A new study revealed that Alzheimer’s disease can be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Researchers performed neurological and neuropsychological tests and monitored the cognitive abilities of 1,700 participants every six months in the “90+ Study”, which started in 2003. Autopsies were conducted upon their death. It is one of the largest studies of its kind in the world.
Results showed that half of the dementia-free patients had the hallmark brain plaques, which led to memory loss and dementia when they died. On the other hand, half of the dementia patients developed symptoms of memory loss, even without having these build-ups in their brain.
Professor Claudia Kawas, lead author of the study, suggested that the reasons for such “cognitive resilience” in those who should have developed dementia but remained free of it was down to a healthy lifestyle.
Kawas told the delegates at the World Congress for Neurology in Kyoto, Japan that the group who had cognitive resilience exercised more and watched less television. She also noted that it was important to keep blood pressure under control.
However, she also pointed out that the findings are not yet decisive, and that the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease need further research.
Tips to prevent dementia
People should start to educate themselves and make the necessary lifestyle changes on how to build brain resilience and prevent the disease. Kawas said that from the scientific knowledge we have today, people should be suitably informed on what they can do about it.
The study suggested to keep the body and brain working in order to protect cognition. The study shed light on why some people get dementia and others do not, even if they reach a highly advanced age where the disease is more likely.
- Study again – You may start by getting a higher level of education to keep the brain working. In the study, it was revealed that those who had a higher level of education had a greater protection against dementia even if OET scans revealed plaque in the brain typical of Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, those with a low level of education had four times more risk of developing dementia. Yet among those without brain plaque, the educational difference was irrelevant.
- Start moving – The study also identified that the lack of physical activity was identified as one of the risk factors that had the greatest effect on dementia. Watching less television and exercising more often can postpone or slow down age-related mental illnesses. (Related: Researchers have figured out how physical exercise prevents dementia and protects the brain.)
- Learn to relax – Aside from preventing cardiovascular risks, keeping your blood pressure under control is also important for mental health, especially between the ages of 35 and 65. However, the researchers believed that high blood pressure could have a protective effect on for those who are in their nineties.
- Keep things diverse – A person should not rely on brain-training apps because there is currently no evidence of its effectiveness in brain-training exercises. Kawas said that they appear to have only short-term effects and work in connection with the same tasks that are practiced over and over.
Kawas estimated that if these interventions were taken by more people, there would be two million fewer dementia cases in the United States by 2050.
Dementia by the numbers
According to the records of Alzheimer’s Disease International, there are about 46.8 million people living with dementia worldwide. This number is expected to almost double every 20 years — 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.
In America, about 5.5 million Americans of all ages have dementia as of 2017 — 5.3 million are aged 65 and older while approximately 200,000 individuals are under age 65 and have younger-onset Alzheimer’s.
Read more news like this at Alzheimers.news.