Keeping up your overall health may keep dementia away

Improving and maintaining health factors not traditionally associated with dementia, such as denture fit, vision and hearing, may lower a person's risk for developing dementia, according to a new study published in the July 13, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk for dementia," said study author Kenneth Rockwood, MD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The study included 7,239 people free of dementia ages 65 and older from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. After five years and again after 10 years, they were evaluated for Alzheimer's disease and all types of dementia. Participants were asked questions about 19 health problems not previously reported to predict dementia. Problems included arthritis, trouble hearing or seeing, denture fit, chest or skin problems, stomach or bladder troubles, sinus issues, broken bones and feet or ankle conditions, among others.

After 10 years, 2,915 of the participants had died, 883 were cognitively healthy, 416 had Alzheimer's disease, 191 had other types of dementia, 677 had but no dementia, and the of 1,023 people was not clear.

The study found that each health problem increased a person's odds of developing dementia by 3.2 percent compared to people without such health problems. without health problems at baseline had an 18 percent chance to become demented in 10 years, while such risk increased to 30 percent and 40 percent in those who had 8 and 12 health problems, respectively.

"More research needs to be done to confirm that these non-traditional health problems may indeed be linked to an increased risk of , but if confirmed, the consequences of these findings could be significant and could lead to the development of preventive or curative strategies for Alzheimer's disease," said Jean François Dartigues, MD, PhD, with the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris, France, in an accompanying editorial.

Related Stories

Personality changes may help detect form of dementia

May 28, 2007

ST. PAUL, MN – A simple personality test could help doctors detect dementia with Lewy bodies, a form of dementia often confused with Alzheimer's disease, sooner, according to a study published in the May 29, 2007, issue ...

Having a parent with dementia may affect memory in midlife

Feb 18, 2009

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia may be more likely to have memory loss themselves in middle age, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of ...

Low childhood IQ linked to type of dementia

Jun 26, 2008

Children with lower IQs are more likely decades later to develop vascular dementia than children with high IQs, according to research published in the June 25, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the ...

Statins may protect against memory loss

Jul 28, 2008

People at high risk for dementia who took cholesterol-lowering statins are half as likely to develop dementia as those who do not take statins, a new study shows.

Recommended for you

Link seen between seizures and migraines in the brain

10 hours ago

Seizures and migraines have always been considered separate physiological events in the brain, but now a team of engineers and neuroscientists looking at the brain from a physics viewpoint discovered a link ...

Neuroscience: Why scratching makes you itch more

16 hours ago

Turns out your mom was right: Scratching an itch only makes it worse. New research from scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicates that scratching causes the brain to release ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.