There’s No ‘Recipe’ to Reduce Dementia Risk — Yet | MedPage Today


Factors that may contribute to a person’s risk for cognitive decline and dementia, include:

1 Physical acivity
2 Nutrition balance
3 Cardiovascular health
4 Social engagement
5 Head injury
6 Sleep habits


What We Know Now

Years of observational studies have identified a number of potentially modifiable factors that may contribute to a person’s risk for cognitive decline and dementia, including physical activity, nutrition balance, cardiovascular health, social engagement, head injury, and sleep habits. In the past decade, researchers have begun testing these factors in gold-standard intervention trials. I’ll highlight a few.

The SPRINT MIND study offers some of the strongest evidence to date about reducing risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia through effective treatment of high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease worldwide. Reported at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) and published in JAMA in early 2019, SPRINT MIND found intensive blood pressure control in older adults resulted in a 19% reduction in risk of MCI (a secondary study outcome), although it did not significantly reduce dementia risk.

Combination approaches with various behavioral interventions have emerged in the landscape in recent years. Perhaps most well-known is the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER), which evaluated multiple strategies — nutritional guidance, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring — to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in a population of over 1,200 individuals that had no objective cognitive complaint. Individuals engaged in the intervention had less cognitive decline during the 2-year intervention period compared to those receiving standard care. Replicative and culturally appropriate studies are underway in countries around the world, including the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER).


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