Science Update | Even More Evidence That Lifestyle Really Matters To Long-Term Dementia Risk
What: A recent study looked at the relationship of numerous lifestyle factors to later dementia risk. Researchers, using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, considered the impact certain experiences or choices at middle age may have on dementia later in life. They found that those middle-aged individuals who were widowed, had a lower body mass index, or did not get adequate sleep were at significantly greater risk for dementia in later life.
Why This Matters: Dementia takes a tremendous toll on the affected individual, their family, and society. While little progress has been made in developing effective treatments for dementia, we continue to gain knowledge about what we can all do to reduce our dementia risk. This well-designed study, using a large sample pool, adds to the growing list of lifestyle interventions that should be promoted by public agencies and the medical community as an effective means of lowering one’s risk for memory disorders.
The Takeaway: This study underscores other recent findings, such as the Lancet Commission Study, that have shown the tremendous importance of leading brain healthy lifestyles to promote long-term cognitive vitality. It also demonstrates the impact of choices made in mid-life on cognitive outcome in our later years, suggesting that it is indeed never too early to start living with our brains in mind.
Li J, Ogrodnik M, Kolachalama VB et al. Assessment of the Mid-Life Demographic and Lifestyle Risk Factors of Dementia Using Data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;63(3):1119-1127. doi:10.3233/JAD-170917. PubMed PMID: