7 Habits That Can Lower Your Risk of Dementia

The seven habits include exercising, losing weight, having good nutrition, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, not smoking, and regulating cholesterol.

Scientists have identified 7 healthy linked to lower rates of dementia in those with genetic risk.

According to a study recently published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, seven healthy habits and lifestyle factors may help reduce the risk of dementia in people with the greatest genetic risk.

The seven cardiovascular and brain health factors are known as the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7: being active, eating healthier, losing weight, not smoking, keeping a healthy blood pressure, regulating cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar.

“These healthy habits in the Life’s Simple 7 have been linked to a lower risk of dementia overall, but it is uncertain whether the same applies to people with a high genetic risk,” said study author Adrienne Tin, Ph.D., of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. “The good news is that even for people who are at the highest genetic risk, living by this same healthier lifestyle are likely to have a lower risk of dementia.”

In the research, 2,738 people with African heritage and 8,823 individuals with European ancestry were tracked over the course of 30 years. At the start of the trial, participants’ average age was 54.

The levels of each of the seven health factors were reported by study participants. The range of total scores was 0 to 14, with 0 being the most unhealthy score and 14 denoting the most healthy score. People of European heritage scored on average 8.3, whereas people of African descent scored on average 6.6.

Researchers calculated genetic risk scores at the start of the study using genome-wide statistics of Alzheimer’s disease, which have been used to study the genetic risk for dementia.

Participants with European ancestry were divided into five groups and those with African ancestry were divided into three groups based on genetic risk scores. The group with the highest genetic risk included people who had at least one copy of the APOE gene variant associated with Alzheimer’s disease, APOE e4. Of those with European ancestry, 27.9% had the APOE e4 variant, while of those who had African ancestry, 40.4% had the APOE e4 variant. The group with the lowest risk had the APOE e2 variant, which has been associated with a decreased risk of dementia.

By the end of the study, 1,603 people with European ancestry developed dementia and 631 people with African ancestry developed dementia.

For people with European ancestry, researchers found that people with the highest scores in the lifestyle factors had a lower risk of dementia across all five genetic risk groups, including the group with the highest genetic risk of dementia. For each one-point increase in the lifestyle factor score, there was a 9% lower risk of developing dementia. Among those with European ancestry, compared with the low category of the lifestyle factor score, the intermediate and high categories were associated with 30% and 43% lower risk for dementia, respectively. Among those with African ancestry, the intermediate and high categories were associated with 6% and 17% lower risk for dementia, respectively.

Among people with African ancestry, researchers found a similar pattern of declining dementia risk across all three groups among those with higher scores on the lifestyle factors. But researchers said the smaller number of participants in this group limited the findings, so more research is needed.

“Larger sample sizes from diverse populations are needed to get more reliable estimates of the effects of these modifiable health factors on dementia risk within different genetic risk groups and ancestral backgrounds,” Tin said.

A limitation of the study was the smaller sample size among people of African ancestry and that many African American participants were recruited from one location.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Reference: “Genetic Risk, Midlife Life’s Simple 7, and Incident Dementia in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study” by Adrienne Tin, Jan Bressler, Jeannette Simino, Kevin J Sullivan, Hao Mei, B. Gwen Windham, Michael Griswold, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Eric Boerwinkle, Myriam Fornage and Tom H. Mosley, 25 May 2022, Neurology.
DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200520

Alzheimer'sAmerican Academy of NeurologyAmerican Heart AssociationDementiaDietExerciseNational Institutes of HealthNutritionPopularSmokingUniversity of MississippiWeight Loss
Comments ( 34 )
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  • Alexiev

    YEP. But you forgot #8, 9# and #10:
    #8: Run for public office. Doesn’t diminish the potential, but diminishes the likelihood that anyone will notice.
    #9: Get VERY wealthy. Again, this will not diminish the liklihood of DEMENTIA, but everyone will chalk it off to ECCENTRICITY, ignore it and ask you for a loan.
    #10: Just DIE. Preferably before the age of 50 (anyone older than that is undoubtedly whacked-out anyway). OR (whenever it applies) within 10 business days of the onset of symptoms, regardless of Age.
    That about covers it for most of the population.
    Ain’t SCIENCE GRAND!?

  • James Slover

    Dementia patients have longer lifespans but their caregivers have shortened lifespans, is this true or false and why? Do caregivers simply get worn out? But why do dementia patients tend to be older with a longer lifespan than non dementia patients?

  • Thomas Almeida

    Yes

  • Alex

    Scientists identify have identified 7 healthy linked to lower rates of dementia in those with genetic risk

    Not sure if the editor messed up or the website code is hiding some of the text.

  • Bob

    #8 suicide

  • Thank you, Joe

    Is this my room?

  • Iamhere

    Alexiev, you are hilarious!

  • Labiba Laith

    My mum did all of these for the longest part of her life if not all of it, she never smoked, kept a very healthy diet, exercised daily, always regulated her essential vitals AND she has Alzheimer’s Dimentia.

    Perhaps the aforesaid scientists and associations can do a bit more work and research to bring forward better results or just simply say “we don’t know everything, this is out of our hands”!

  • DS

    I once read pepper and other spices that are used in countries like India lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s a lot.

  • Mari

    Read second paragraph lists the 7.

  • Mari

    Paragraph 2 lists the 7

  • Steve patti

    I read this..and what it tells me is they know nothing all guess work..my mom die if this most Disgusting disease known to mankind nothing and I mean nothing is worse than dementia she was in perfect health weighted 110 lbs no high blood pressure worked out eat right didn’t drink alcohol never smoked so they have no clue

    • Mr. Bob

      Did you sleep through science and math classes? Of course they have a clue. These are all excellent probabilities with huge sample sizes. You don’t even understand basic numbers. And you’re not the only one here with such illiterate assertions.

  • TLindsey

    My version doesn’t show any of the 7 habits that help lower one’s risk of dementia. Thanks!

  • Anna

    Another version of #8
    The editor already has dementia.

  • C. NoBody

    🚨Shoot Alex! Beat me to it!! – Besides having the Definition of DEMENTIA stricken from All Dictionaries- the W.H. (& Pelosi, Waters, Booker, Schumer…) just CURED Dementia & Alzheimer’s!- PRESS RELEASE! : it NEVER EXISTED!! Gone! Poof! At least it will save the 🇺🇸Taxpayer 💸s by NOT having FEDERAL 💰going towards the NEXT Dem-Led “ WAR on… “ Flavor of the Year!

  • Suzanne

    What about Happiness,joy,humbleness, humbleness, and contentment? Emotional Health isn’t important? Does Narcissistic personality disorder play a role in the “end” days of our lives?

  • Bemused

    Chalk it UP. Not chalk it off. Look it up before you argue. Just saying-

  • Fay

    We just don’t know for certain. Seems the very ones who live the cleanest lifestyle get dementia. The coolest, kindest persons get it, I noticed. So, it looks like you need to defy goodness — just live, love laugh and be happy doing it. You can loosen up a bit. Don’t be too tight!

  • Fay

    Eat, drink, be merry, let it rip: Four ways to avoid dementia. Plus laugh, live, love!

  • Joe fonto

    To bad joe biden didn’t read this years ago!!

  • Diana

    Avoiding these habits might help us live longer but thats about it, scientists still have no clue. Please next time just list your tips in a 1, 2, 3 fashion so we’re not forced to read all the stuff in-between.

  • libtard

    trumpanzees even get mad at an article about dementia.daddy trump lost. move on.

  • Grandma

    Liptard’s comment made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the smile.

  • Jennifer Feliu

    Dementia comes from Europe different destinations starting in Germany the training the look and the balance of emotions through heaven and hell never to harm a child in anyway with integrity. Dementia is also compromised of the diet you eat of how you are as a person. Innate scores of aptitude is no circle of life, it is not to harm the child whatsoever nor the animal a license to even hunt fish is wrong. They feel it they know it and in factories that’s all out war for the inside I traveled to Hawaii and got arrested for theft, I was taking pictures with a film camera disposable and told them to pit the charge on the hotel bill, they arrested me I did pilates then they released me took my money I had in cash enough to pay for that photo bill. Laughed and everything at me too. That was one helluva lesson I got in Hawaii alone fighting zones getting dressed then back to hawaii yet again two times I was there just me going to a bookstore with a portable cd player and headphones and buying CD at a bookstore what a trip and and explanation dementia just with that one.

  • JLH

    Wow, I cannot believe the mean comments. You don’t realize dementia may happen to someone in your family or to you. JulAnd you don’t realize how fast you grow older. I may grow old but I hope I don’t become uncaring.

  • Rose

    Disagree. My mom did all of that and still was overcome by the disease.

  • Lost in translation

    I look forward to forgetting some things, like that time in grad school, we were…. Oh, I digress, so yeah I think I’ll stick to doing what I’m doing, because, like that time in the Philippines, you really want to forget some stuff… Not to mention that donkey show in Mexico that one time, or the game of giggles in Japan, or wandering around Barcelona trying to find my hotel… But I would like to remember my time in Norway… Seriously, I don’t remember a lot about my time in Norway… But I think I had a good time,… Better than that time in Istanbul when things got WAYYY out of hand… I bet they want to forget me too… Anyway, I digress… Life is too short to remember everything… You gotta forget to make room for more memories, I think…

  • Karen W.

    Really? Has society become so bent that freakin politics has to infect the seriousness of a disease that ruins the life of people who are most unfortunate to get it. It’s not a joke when someone you love can’t remember something that just happened 5 seconds ago. The heartache and sadness for all involved coupled with guilt and anger with that why question. So please stop being so ignorant and insensitive. Don’t you fools have political platforms to insult each other? Dementia is no joke and it hurts tremendously. Especially when your loved one dies. So F off!!!

  • RW

    If bitterness, lack of empathy, and preoccupation with political drama turns out to be a root cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, most of those commenting in this group are doomed.

  • Gumby

    Comments = projection

  • Gumby

    Comments = projection. Think, a view into ones’s soul…

  • ImJustConfused

    Reading this made me believe I have dementia. Where’s the relevant info?🤨

  • Kathy S

    It’s all the additives in the government relations on food . Food preservation and fillers are just some of the poisoners additives. Look at what people ate back in the 50’ s and 60’s…. Not much trouble back then…….. my great grandmother was 2 weeks shy of 100 yrs old…. She ate everything fresh… not much frozen back then