With no drugs currently available to halt the progress of dementia, scientists are turning their attention to the influence of lifestyle factors and trying to identify the crucial changes to help prevent or delay the onset of cognitive decline. In a new report from the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention and Care, international experts named nine lifestyle factors that they believe to be responsible for 35 percent of dementia cases, including Alzheimer’s.
They found that getting a better education in early life and dealing with hearing loss, high blood pressure and obesity in mid-life could reduce the incidence of dementia by up to 20 per cent. In later life, the crucial steps were stopping smoking, treating depression, increasing physical activity, managing diabetes and enhancing social contact. The Lancet Commission believes this could reduce dementia rates by a further 15 per cent. According to the report, a ten percent reduction in the prevalence of seven of the most important health and lifestyle factors could reduce the number of dementia cases worldwide by more than a million.
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