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Six ways to help reduce the risk of dementia

Published 21/08/2015

Dementia levels in the UK are stabilising, according to reports
Dementia levels in the UK are stabilising, according to reports

Scientists have said that dementia may not be the fast-growing epidemic it was once thought it could be.

Dementia levels are stabilising, according to a report published in the Lancet medical journal by researchers at the University of Cambridge, with the proportion of elderly people with the condition in the UK falling. The findings contradict predictions made 20 years ago that cases would soar.

Here are some of the ways it is thought you can reduce the risk of suffering from dementia:

1. Moderate, regular exercise

Last year, a study found that walking briskly for 30 to 40 minutes a day, three times a week, was all it took to “re-grow” structures of the brain linked with cognitive decline in later life.

Researchers have also said statins, designed to help those with heart conditions, may play an additional role in protecting the brain from dementia.

2. Quit smoking

A review of studies relating smoking and dementia found that (when you remove studies funded by the tobacco industry) smokers have a significantly greater risk of dementia.

3. Protect your head

A variety of observational studies have shown that professional boxers and war veterans are at greater risk of dementia due to repeated concussion and traumatic head injuries.

4. Puzzles and crosswords

In 2010, studies suggested people who do puzzles and crosswords may stave off dementia for longer.

However, the same study also found they may experience a more rapid decline once the disease sets in.

5. A healthy lifestyle

Dr Laura Phillips of Alzheimer’s Research UK says a healthy lifestyle is best for preventing dementia: “Eating a balanced, healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, and keeping blood pressure and weight in check.”

6. A Mediterranean diet

Research has suggested that a Mediterranean diet – rich in fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds – may reduce the risks of dementia.  However NHS Choices has previously warned some of the media coverage of this diet may overstate its benefits.

Independent

Independent News Service

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