-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- It may be possible to lower
the incidence of dementia by reducing rates of diabetes and
depression, boosting education, and increasing fruit and vegetable
consumption, according to a new study.
The exact cause of dementia hasn't been pinpointed, but several
modifiable risk factors have been identified, including a history
of depression, type of diet, level of alcohol consumption,
education level and vascular risk factors (heart disease, stroke,
high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol).
This study included 1,433 healthy people over age 65 living in
the south of France. They underwent cognitive testing at the start
of the study and again two, four and seven years later. The
participants also provided medical history and personal information
on diet, education, monthly income, alcohol consumption and tobacco
The researchers concluded that eliminating depression and
diabetes and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption would lead
to an overall 21 percent reduction in new cases of dementia.
Eliminating depression alone would lead to a 10 percent reduction,
although researchers caution that a causal link between depression
and dementia is unclear.
They also said that increasing education would reduce new cases
of dementia by an estimated 18 percent in the general population
over the next seven years. In comparison, eliminating the primary
known genetic risk factor would lead to a 7 percent reduction.
The findings suggest that public health initiatives to combat
dementia should focus on prompt treatment of depressive symptoms,
early screening for glucose intolerance and insulin resistance
(early states of diabetes development), and encouraging literacy
for people of all ages, the researchers said.
The study was published Aug. 6 on
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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