Lifestyle May Be More Important Than Age in Determining Risk of Cognitive Decline
A great part of who were are is composed of the memories we have. With a growing interest in preventing the loss of memories, researchers have turned to preventative approaches – to address lack of disease-modifying treatment for dementia.
A recent study found that lifestyle may be more important than age in determining risk of dementia and cognitive health. The study included data from over 22,000 participants between the ages of 18 – 89 and found that, for all ages, lifestyle is a more important risk factor for cognitive decline than age.The risk factors that were examined range from early life factors to late-life factors. They include low education, traumatic brain injury, hypertension, smoking, diabetes, and depression.
In the study, participants with no risk factors for dementia had similar brain health to people 10-20 years younger than them! Additionally, the study found that each risk factor for dementia reduced cognitive abilities by the equivalent of 3 years of aging, and each additional risk factor added to this decline.
For the risk factors that are modifiable with nutrition, exercise, and stress management, this study suggests it is never too early to start caring for your brain health. Maintaining healthy lifestyle habits can prevent the loss of memory and shape the life you live.
By: Helena Zhang, BS & Maya Shetty, BS
- LaPlume AA, McKetton L, Levine B, Troyer AK, Anderson ND. The adverse effect of modifiable dementia risk factors on cognition amplifies across the adult lifespan. Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2022 Jul 13;14(1):e12337. doi: 10.1002/dad2.12337. PMID: 35845262; PMCID: PMC9277708.