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Report: Smoking, obesity and early-life education may affect dementia

A new report has made the case for raising awareness about the way lifestyle choices can affect your risk of dementia later in life.

It points out "there is no evidence strong enough at this time to claim that lifestyle changes will prevent dementia on an individual basis". However, evidence suggests the following could result in a lower risk:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Improved detection and treatment of diabetes and hypertension
  • Increased physical activity and reduction in levels of obesity
  • Education in early life

Strong evidence linking healthy lifestyle to low dementia risk

Dr Eric Karran, director of research at charity Alzheimer's Research UK, has welcomed today's report, saying:

Although there is currently no certain way to prevent dementia, this report underlines strong evidence suggesting we can lower our risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

A large body of research has linked high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes to an increased risk of dementia, and this analysis serves as another reminder that good heart health is an important route to good brain health.

Studies have also suggested that education in early life may help build a level of 'cognitive reserve', helping the brain to withstand the damage from diseases like Alzheimer's for longer in later life.

– Dr Eric Karran, Alzheimer's Research UK
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