Bad dementia genes can be overcome through healthy living, study finds

Bad dementia genes can be overcome through healthy living, study finds

Bad dementia genes can be overcome through healthy living, study finds

"However, it appears that you may be able to substantially reduce your dementia risk by living a healthy lifestyle", said joint lead study author David Llewellyn, Ph.D., in a news release. On the other hand, those with a high genetic risk for the disease were nearly three times more likely to develop it if they lived an unhealthy life. Among participants with, both, a high genetic risk and an unfavorable lifestyle, 1.78% (95% CI, 1.38%-2.28%) developed dementia compared to 0.56% (95% CI, 0.48%-0.66%) of participants categorized as having a low genetic risk and favorable lifestyle (HR, 2.83; 95% CI, 2.09-3.83).

She said: "Our findings are exciting as they show that we can take action to try to offset our genetic risk for dementia".

This means the benefit of adopting a healthy lifestyle is likely to be highest for those with the worst genes.

Dr Maria Carrillo, chief science officer of the US Alzheimer's Association, which hosts the conference, said: 'While there is no proven cure or treatment for Alzheimer's, a large body of research now strongly suggests that combining healthy habits promotes good brain health and reduces your risk of cognitive decline'.

Participants were grouped into those with high, intermediate and low genetic risk for dementia.

From there, the researchers assessed the genetic risk by looking at previously published information and determined all known genetic factors of Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Association is sponsoring a similar study underway now in the US. Scores reflecting genetic risk and lifestyle were compiled based on genetic variants associated with Alzheimer disease and dementia and questionnaires about smoking, physical activity, diet and alcohol consumption. "Spend more time being mindful of living a healthy life". For example: whether or not they smoked; how much fish they ate (the more the better); how much red meat they ate ("which is kind of more of a negative", Llewellyn said); how many servings of fruits and vegetables they ate in a particular day; and how much they drank in a typical week.

In order to determine whether a healthy lifestyle was associated with a Lowe risk of dementia, without regard to genetic risk, investigators carried out a retrospective cohort study on patients from the UK Biobank study. "Sticking to a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced risk of dementia, regardless of the genetic risk". There is considerable evidence that individuals who avoid smoking tobacco, are physically active, drink alcohol in moderation, and have a healthy diet have a lower dementia risk. Over eight years of follow-up, there were 1,769 new cases of dementia.

"Sadly, as genetics still plays an important role in influencing the risk of Alzheimer's, there will always be people who address many or all of these lifestyle factors and still develop the disease".

"This is a very optimistic public health message because you can't change your genes but you can change your lifestyle".

The study tracked the genetics, lifestyles and Alzheimer's disease incidence of almost 200,000 British people over 60 for an average of eight years.