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Healthy lifestyle could help reduce risk of dementia

Living a healthy lifestyle could dramatically reduce the risk of developing dementia - according to a major piece of new research. A study of more than two thousand middle-aged men in Caerphilly found the risk can be cut by 60 percent.

Exercise was the key factor but cutting out on drinking alcohol and smoking, as well as eating more healthy food could also have a huge impact. Our correspondent Carole Green reports.

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New study finds dementia risk reduced by exercise

Recent surveys show that less than 1% of people in Wales live a completely healthy lifestyle Credit: PA

A study which has taken over 35 years to complete has found that exercise can reduce the risk of dementia.

Cardiff University scientists have found that healthy behaviours including no smoking, low alcohol intake, healthy eating and regular exercise can reduce the effects of dementia.

Over 2,235 men were surveyed over 35 years in what is one of the longest investigations into the influence of environmental factors in a chronic disease.

The people who consistently lived a healthy lifestyle had a 60 per cent decline in dementia and cognitive decline.

More than 2,000 take part in Memory Walk

Thousands of people - many in matching t-shirts - have been taking part in the Memory Walk in Bute Park. Credit: Tom Sheldrick / ITV News

More than two thousand people have been taking in part in the Cardiff Memory Walk to raise money for dementia sufferers and their carers.

It's thought this year's event is the biggest ever. With a third of people over 65 expected to die from dementia, those fundraising say it's a great cause.

  1. Hannah Thomas

Hairdressers 'can provide advice on dementia'

Welsh actress Ruth Jones has today spoken of her family's battle to understand the onset of her mother-in-law's Alzheimer's disease.

It comes as a campaign is launched to raise more awareness of dementia. It is aimed at businesses like hairdressers, in the hope that they can provide customers with advice on where to go for help, if they think they have it.

With an ageing population, Alzheimer's Society says that the number of dementia sufferers could rise by 40 percent in the next decade.

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Ruth Jones on her family's experiences with dementia

Welsh actress Ruth Jones is fronting Alzheimer's Society Dementia Awareness Week.

Her mother-in-law Margaret had dementia and she describes her family's experiences in a film made with ITV's Daybreak.

Ruth says: "noticing the gradual decline in her memory and her ability to deal with the day-to-day, that was the most upsetting thing."

"Talking changes everything - it makes the problem less scary - and we all can club together to deal with it."

Dementia Awareness Week aims to get people talking

It is currently Dementia Awareness Week, running between 19 and 25 May this year.

Alzheimer's Society says it simply wants to get people talking about dementia.

It is using the hashtag #TalkDementia on Twitter, as part of the campaign.

This wordcloud shows what people are saying using the hashtag #TalkDementia on Twitter. Credit: Alzheimer's Society

The charity has an online forum for people to talk to others about dementia and tips about how to raise awareness.

It has also launched 'Five things you should know about dementia': it is not a natural part of ageing; it's caused by diseases of the brain; it's not just about losing your memory; it's possible to live well with dementia; and there's more to a person than dementia.

New initiative to encourage people to talk about dementia

Alzheimer's Society is encouraging people to talk about dementia to help raise awareness Credit: PA

There's an estimated 45,000 people in Wales living with dementia and over the next 10 years, that figure is expected to rise to 56,000.

In a bid to raise awareness and get people talking about dementia, Alzheimer's Society is launching a new initiative to get hairdressers in Gwent to raise the issue with their customers and provide them with information.

The charity is holding a range of events to mark Dementia Awareness Week.

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