Wellness & Education

Are Alzheimer’s and Dementia Preventable?

While researchers have spent many years looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia, they still have not found one. As the search for a cure continues, some researchers have chosen to focus on prevention. They are looking for early lifestyle changes that may decrease the likelihood of getting these diseases in the first place. These scientists decided to look for risk factors that: 

  1. Appear in early to mid-life, long before these diseases appear.  
  2. Can be changed by behavior or treatment.  

The researchers found eight risk factors that met these criteria. They were: “midlife obesity, midlife high blood pressure, physical inactivity, depression, smoking, low education, diabetes and hearing loss”.  

At the time of the initial research, the top three risk factors on this list were:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Smoking

This year, researchers found that the top three from this list have changed. The good news is that depression and smoking are no longer among the top three. The bad news is that midlife obesity is now in top place, followed by physical inactivity and a low level of education.  

As the obesity epidemic continues to spread, scientists fear that this may indicate a possible increase in future rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  

Based on information from Risk Factors Associated With Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias by Sex and Race and Ethnicity in the US | Dementia and Cognitive Impairment | JAMA Neurology | JAMA Network