Targeting These 9 Factors May Help Prevent Dementia, Say Experts

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Addressing these risk factors could help prevent 35 percent of dementia cases
Addressing these risk factors could help prevent 35 percent of dementia cases

(HealthDay News) — One-third of dementia cases worldwide might be prevented by paying attention to nine risk factors throughout life, according to a report published online July 19 in The Lancet. The publication was set to coincide with presentation at the annual Alzheimer's Association International Conference, held from July 16 to 20 in London.

The findings from 24 international experts indicate that these factors include: staying in school until at least over the age of 15; reducing hearing loss, obesity, and hypertension in mid-life (ages 45 to 65); and reducing smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation, and diabetes in later life (older than 65).

Targeting these risk factors could help prevent 35 percent of dementia cases, the researchers suggested. In comparison, targeting the major genetic risk factor -- ApoE -- would prevent less than one in 10 dementia cases (7 percent).

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"By incorporating potentially reversible risk factors from different phases of the life-span and not just old age, we are able to propose a novel life-course model of risk, from which population attributable fractions have been derived to show the possible effect on future incidence of successful elimination of the most potent factors," the authors write. "We have brought together all this evidence and have calculated that more than a third of dementia cases might theoretically be preventable."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

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