A major new study suggests it’s possible to avoid developing dementia — 5 ways to reduce your risk

A new study published in the peer-reviewed health journal JAMA found that a healthy lifestyle could help you reduce your risk of dementia, even if you have a genetic risk of the disease. The study analyzed data on 196,383 adults of European descent of 60 years or older. From that sample, the researchers identified 1,769 cases of dementia during a follow-up period of eight years.

This is what they found: participants with high genetic risk and an unfavorable lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop dementia compared to those with a low genetic risk and a favorable lifestyle. However, the risk of dementia was 32% lower in people with a high genetic risk if they had followed a healthy lifestyle, compared to people with an unhealthy lifestyle.

“This research delivers a really important message that undermines a fatalistic view of dementia,” said co-author David Llewellyn, an associate professor at the University of Exeter School of Medicine and a member of the Alan Turing Institute. “Some people believe that it is inevitable that they develop dementia because of their genetics.” However, this research says that maybe it is not like that.

This is what should be avoided: the study, published Monday by scientists from the University of Exeter and presented at the International Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association in Los Angeles, analyzed four main signs of a healthy lifestyle instead of unhealthy . Those who were more likely to develop dementia reported that they consumed an unhealthy diet high in sugar and salt, did not engage in regular physical activity and smoked cigarettes. (The researchers considered “moderate alcohol consumption,” as well as regular exercise, not smoking and a healthy diet, as part of a healthy lifestyle).

A 2017 study found a fifth article worth avoiding: artificial sweeteners. “Taking at least one artificially sweetened daily drink was associated with almost three times the risk of developing a stroke or dementia compared to those who drank artificially sweetened beverages less than once a week,” according to the study, published in the journal American Heart Association “Career.”

Beware of the kit: the researchers also found a statistically significant association between dementia and exposure to anticholinergic drugs, especially antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, antiparkinson medications, antiepilepsy drugs and bladder antimuscarinics, which are used to treat urinary incontinence, according to another study carried out in JAMA Internal Medicine.

A separate research published last month analyzed data on 284,343 patients in England aged 55 and older. They found “a 50% greater likelihood of dementia” related to exposure to more than 1,095 daily doses of anticholinergics for 10 years, “equivalent to the three-year daily use of a single strong anticholinergic drug at the minimum recommended effective dose for the elderly . ”

“We found an increase in the risk associated with people diagnosed with dementia before age 80, which indicates that anticholinergic drugs should be prescribed with caution in middle-aged and older people,” the researchers wrote. Anticholinergic drugs block a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system.

A 2013 study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that the annual cost per person attributable to dementia per person in 2010 was $ 41,689 to $ 56,290, according to the calculation. Costs included nursing home care, out-of-pocket expenses, home care and Medicare. Another guest comment also published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine praised the rigor of the new findings, but warned that more evidence was needed.

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