Since there’s no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have been focused on determining ways to reduce one’s risk of acquiring the fatal illness.
According to a study published recently in the medical journal JAMA, making good lifestyle choices when it comes to diet and exercise can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, regardless of genetic risk.
This is encouraging news because it shows that people may be able to control their destiny, even if dementia runs in their family.
The study followed nearly 200,000 adults in the United Kingdom from as early as 2006 through 2017. All participants were age 60 or older and had a high genetic risk of dementia, but they did not show any signs of it when they entered the study.
After following up with the participants in 2016 and ’17, the results showed that 1.13 percent of those with a healthy lifestyle wound up getting dementia, compared to 1.78 percent of those who led a less healthy lifestyle. Researchers called the .61-percent difference “statistically significant.”
“This research is exciting in that it shows there are actionable things we can do to try to counteract genetic risk for dementia,” Elzbieta Kuzma, a research fellow at the University of Exeter Medical School, told CNN.
The study was one of the key pieces of research that was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this month.
Another study showed that people who engaged in the following lifestyle habits – eating a healthy diet, moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, light to moderate drinking, no smoking, and keeping their brain stimulated – had up to a 60 percent reduction in risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The authors of that study found that people who added even just one of those habits could have a risk reduction of up to 22 percent.