Rush University: A Healthy Lifestyle Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia by 60%

To reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 60%, you only need to do regular physical and mental exercise, eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking, and reduce your alcohol consumption.

Old Woman With Dementia

Old Woman With Dementia

Lifestyle plays an important role in our health. The latest findings come from a study conducted by researchers at the Rush University School of Medicine. According to their findings, adopting four to five good habits a day is associated with a 60% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. They published their results in the journal Neurology.

A 6-year follow-up

Researchers have looked for preventive behaviors that can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “To date, clinical trials with various therapies in dementia patients have not succeeded in changing the course of the disease,” the authors state in their introduction to the study. However, data from epidemiological studies and clinical trials suggest that primary prevention can delay the onset of the disease. Targeted attention to prevention strategies has become a public health priority”.

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To conduct their study, the researchers reviewed the records of 1,845 volunteers over 65 years of age who are part of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) and 920 volunteers from another cohort, The Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP). A total of 2,765 people were followed by the researchers. They studied their diet, lifestyle and genetic factors related to Alzheimer’s disease. By the end of these six years, 600 of them had developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Five factors for a healthy lifestyle

By compiling a series of data on the six-year observation of the lifestyle of volunteers, the researchers concluded that a combination of factors related to a healthy lifestyle is essential in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. “Compared to participants with no or only one healthy lifestyle factor those with 2 to 3 healthy lifestyle factors had a 37 percent lower risk and for those with 4 to 5 healthy lifestyle factors the risk was 60 percent lower,” said Klodian Dhana, who led the study.

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The researchers identified five factors that lead to a healthy lifestyle to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The first is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. It is preferable not to smoke and to limit alcohol consumption to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Then a Mediterranean-style diet is recommended with a preference for olive oil, dried fruits, green leafy vegetables, fish, berries, poultry, and whole grains. Finally, the latest health and lifestyle tip from the researchers is to maintain cognitive activity, whether it be through reading, writing, or playing puzzles.

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References

Healthy lifestyle and the risk of Alzheimer dementia

 

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