Remember, don’t do this: the lifestyle changes that could ...

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Remember, don’t do this: the lifestyle changes that could prevent dementia

Going deaf, obesity, drinking too much and depression are among the risk factors flagged in a new report

Sarah Knapton

Four in 10 dementia cases could be prevented or delayed with changes in lifestyle, a study has shown.

A report by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention (https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30367-6/fulltext) has identified 12 preventable factors that play a role in its onset. Scientists found the biggest modifiable risk factor was hearing loss, which is believed to be responsible for 8% of cases. They now think that hearing loss may trigger brain damage elsewhere, and stop people from socially interacting, which is known to protect the brain from cognitive decline.

Poor education in early years is also linked to 7% of cases and smoking to 5%. Physical inactivity, obesity and drinking too much are responsible for 4% of cases cumulatively, while depression and social isolation combined are to blame for 8% of cases. Diabetes and high blood pressure are responsible for the final 2%...

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