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Video: Genes Play A Significant Role In The Development Of Dementia
Genes play a significant role in the development of dementia
Elderly people should eat well, be active and not smoke to prevent dementia. However, in the presence of a genetic predisposition to diseases that impair memory, a healthy lifestyle does not affect the loss of cognitive abilities.
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Dementia refers to acquired dementia, a decrease in cognitive performance (cognitive abilities) with a loss of skills that have developed earlier in life.
Elderly people should eat well, exercise and not smoke to prevent dementia. However, if you have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases that impair memory, then lifestyle changes may not be enough. This established a new study, the results of which are published in the journal Nature Medicine.
In the study, the researchers found that out of 6,300 people aged 55 and older, people with healthy habits had a lower risk of being diagnosed with dementia over the next 15 years. However, this was mainly the case for follow-up participants with a low to moderate genetic risk of dementia. As for people with a high genetic risk for dementia, there was no evidence that lifestyle significantly affects the likelihood of their cognitive decline.
Scientists have divided the participants into genetic groups. For this, two approaches were used. In one, the researchers focused on the APOE gene (certain variants of this gene are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's). In the second, they looked at the many genes that have been associated with dementia risk. Scientists also assessed participants based on certain lifestyle factors: exercise, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, diabetes and depression, and social isolation.
The results showed that over the next 15 years, people with a "favorable" lifestyle were less likely to develop dementia, unless they were at high genetic risk. The difference was evident, for example, among people with low APOE scores: those with dementia rates were significantly lower - less than 13% - compared to 32% in people with unhealthy lifestyles.
A similar pattern was found in people with an average risk of APOE, which included the majority of the study participants. However, there was not much difference among people at high risk for APOE. Approximately 18% of them developed dementia with a healthy lifestyle and 19.5% with bad habits.
The reasons for this difference in results are still unclear. However, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Silvan Licher of Erasmus University in Holland, the age of the participants can play a significant role. The participants in this study were on average about 69 years old at the time they assessed their habits and lifestyle. But healthy habits in youth, which most likely prevented the development of dementia in old age, may have influenced the risk of developing dementia.
Thus, according to the authors, the study's findings do not suggest that a healthy lifestyle is not important for preventing dementia. They only emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle from a young age. In addition to reducing the risk of dementia, it also reduces the likelihood of heart disease and stroke.
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