A new report has estimated that the number of dementia cases worldwide could be reduced by 40% if 12 risk factors for the condition could be completely eliminated. The Lancet Commission Report has included excessive alcohol use, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pollution as three new risk factors in its updated model for dementia risk. The report, supported by Alzheimer’s Research UK was published at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2020.
Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“This collaborative report from dementia experts across the world highlights a number of potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia throughout a person’s life. Research is constantly uncovering more about dementia and this is the most comprehensive overview into dementia risk to date, building on previous work by this commission and moving our understanding forward.
“As new studies continue to develop the evidence base on dementia risk, the report has identified three new risk factors for dementia. More evidence on the complex topic of sleep is needed before we can make a judgement on its impact on dementia risk, but we hope this report will act as a catalyst for further research.
“With no treatments yet able to slow or stop the onset of dementia, taking action to reduce these risks is an important part of our strategy for tackling the condition. Prevention strategies must be underpinned by robust evidence and while our understanding of dementia risk is growing, there is still much we need to know about the different risk factors for dementia.
“This report underlines the importance of acting at a personal and policy level to reduce dementia risk. With Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Dementia Attitudes Monitor showing just a third of people think it’s possible to reduce their risk of developing dementia, there’s clearly much to do here to increase people’s awareness of the steps they can take.
“While there’s no sure-fire way of preventing dementia, the best way to keep your brain healthy as you age is to stay physically and mentally active, eat a healthy balanced diet, not smoke, drink only within the recommended limits and keep weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in check.”