Thursday, June 18, 2020

Combination of healthy lifestyle traits may substantially reduce Alzheimer's disease risk

News Release 17-Jun-2020
NIH/National Institute on Aging

Combining more healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with substantially lower risk for Alzheimer's disease in a study that included data from nearly 3,000 research participants. Those who adhered to four or all of the five specified healthy behaviors were found to have a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer's. The behaviors were physical activity, not smoking, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, a high-quality diet, and cognitive activities.


The researchers scored each participant based on five healthy lifestyle factors, all of which have important health benefits:

At least 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity - Physical activity is an important part of healthy aging.
Not smoking - Established research has confirmed that even in people 60 or older who have been smoking for decades, quitting will improve health.
Light-to-moderate alcohol consumption - Limiting use of alcohol may help cognitive health.
A high-quality, Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet, which combines the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet - The MIND diet focuses on plant-based foods linked to dementia prevention.
Engagement in late-life cognitive activities - Being intellectually engaged by keeping the mind active may benefit the brain.

The research team then compared the scores with outcomes of clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's in the CHAP and MAP participants. Lead author of the paper, Klodian Dhana, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center, emphasized that the combination of healthy lifestyle factors is key. He wrote that compared to participants with no or one healthy lifestyle factors, the risk of Alzheimer's was 37% lower in those with two to three, and 60% lower in those with four to five healthy lifestyle factors.


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