How modifying 12 risk factors throughout life may reduce the risk of dementia

New research from the University of Southern California has identified 12 risk factors that over time, if modified, may help delay or inhibit the development of dementia. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet.

As part of the new report, more than 25 experts on the topic of dementia implemented new risk factors that should be taken into consideration over one’s life span.

According to researchers, excessive alcohol intake, head injury in mid-adulthood, and air pollution are all the new risk factors added in the report.

“We are learning that tactics to avoid dementia begin early and continue throughout life, so it’s never too early or too late to take action,” said Lon Schneider, co-author of the study.

Among the 12 risk factors, researchers suggest that as many as 40 percent of dementia cases may be prevented by addressing the following lifestyle factors, as stated in the news release.

  • Aim to maintain systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less from the age of 40.
  • Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss and reduce hearing loss by protecting ears from high noise levels.
  • Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke.
  • Prevent head injury (particularly by targeting high-risk occupations).
  • Limit alcohol intake to no more than 21 units per week (one unit of alcohol equals 10 ml or 8 g pure alcohol).
  • Stop smoking and support others to stop smoking.
  • Provide all children with primary and secondary education.
  • Lead an active life into mid-life and possibly later life.
  • Reduce obesity and the linked condition of diabetes.

The study titled, Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission, was co-authored by Gill Livingston, Jonathan Huntley, Andrew Sommerlad, David Ames, Clive Ballard, Sube Banerjee, among others.

Image courtesy of University of Southern California
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