Prevent dementia by fighting nine risk factors
Almost 1.6 million people with dementia currently live in Germany, two thirds of them have Alzheimer's. The number of people affected is steadily increasing. A team of researchers is now reporting that fighting nine risk factors would result in significantly fewer cases of dementia.
The number of dementia patients is increasing and increasing
Around 47 million people with dementia currently live worldwide, according to the German Alzheimer Society, there are almost 1.6 million in Germany, most of them have Alzheimer's. But the number continues to rise. According to the Alzheimer report, another dementia diagnosis is added every 3.2 seconds worldwide. While the exact causes of the disease are still unclear, scientists have identified a number of factors that play a role in the development and development of dementia.
Despite medical progress, dementia cannot be cured to this day. The therapies currently available can only slow down the disease process and alleviate accompanying symptoms.
But according to an international team of researchers led by Gill Livingston from University College London (UK), a third of dementia cases could be prevented if certain risk factors were eliminated from childhood.
“Although dementia is diagnosed later in life, brain changes usually begin to develop years earlier. Risk factors for the development of the disease occur not only in old age, but throughout life, ”said Livingston.
The scientists published their findings in the specialist journal "The Lancet".
Nine identified risk factors for dementia
A report by the “BBC” lists the nine identified risk factors for dementia:
Hearing loss in middle age, lack of education in adolescence, smoking, depression, lack of exercise, social isolation, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
The personal risk of disease could be influenced to a certain extent, but the researchers admitted that the numbers should be "interpreted with caution", since it is not possible to completely eliminate all risk factors.
In addition, other potential risk factors such as e.g. Alcohol consumption or sleep disorders have not been included. Nevertheless, the study shows that it is possible to tackle incurable dementia.
The connection between education and Alzheimer's is also viewed critically
Previous research has shown that, above all, better education can protect against dementia and mental training helps prevent Alzheimer's.
However, according to some experts, the effects of education on the development of dementia are also critical.
Because in "31 studies that were carried out in Europe on this topic, 19 studies could establish a positive influence between education and Alzheimer's dementia, but in twelve studies this relationship could not be found," explained Dr. Thorsten Müller from the Medical Proteom Center of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) last year.
In addition to reducing or avoiding the risk factors mentioned, studies have also provided further information on how dementia can be avoided.
For example, three cups of coffee a day, regular saunas and cannabis should help prevent Alzheimer's or, in some cases, greatly reduce the risk. (ad)