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Regardless of whether you’re 18 or 80, there are eight important factors that can reduce your odds of developing dementia, a new study has found.
Each of them shortens the life of the brain by three years, the researchers said. This means that for many people, a person may have a brain age that is 10 or 20 years older than them.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Annalise Laplom, said: “Our results suggest that lifestyle factors may be more important than age in determining a person’s level of cognitive function. That’s great news, and there’s a lot you can do to change. Managing diabetes, treating your hearing loss, and quitting smoking are all you need.” Factors such as receiving support.”
The study, conducted by Baycrest Health Sciences in association with the University of Toronto, is one of the first to look at risk factors for dementia across the lifespan.
It used data from 22,117 people aged 18 to 89 who completed an assessment that included four cognitive tasks.
The researchers looked at participants’ performance on tests of memory and attention, and how this was affected by eight modifiable risk factors for dementia:
Low education (less than a high school diploma).
– Deafness of hearing.
Alcohol or drug abuse.
– high blood pressure.
Smoking (current or in the past four years).
Each factor caused a decline in cognitive performance up to three years into old age, with each additional factor contributing to the same amount of decline.
For example, having three risk factors can lead to an equivalent decline in cognitive performance by age nine.
The effects of risk factors increased with age, as did the number of risk factors people had.
“Our research shows that it can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia,” Dr. Laplum said. “Whether you’re 18 or 90, start addressing any risk factors you have now that will support brain health.”
Dr. Nicole Anderson, senior author and associate scientific director of the Kimmel Center for Brain and Health, said risk factors “must be addressed as early as possible.”
For example, a younger person may seek better education, a middle-aged person may want to maintain blood sugar levels, and an elderly person may want to improve hearing.
Some risk factors for dementia, including genetics and age, cannot be changed, so it is always recommended to improve your lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising, and limiting smoking and alcohol.
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