Healthy Habits Linked to Lower Risk of Dementia

In a recently published study, researchers have recommended 7 healthy habits and lifestyle factors that may play a role in lowering the risk of dementia in people with the highest genetic risk. The study was published in the journal Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. 

The seven cardiovascular and brain health factors, that are known as the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, are: 

  • Being active. 
  • Eating better. 
  • Losing weight.
  • Not smoking. 
  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure. 
  • Controlling cholesterol.
  • Reducing blood sugar. 

These habits have been linked to a lower risk of dementia overall, and now is also known that even people with high genetic risk can also decrease their risk of dementia.

For the current study, the team evaluated 8,823 people with European ancestry and 2,738 with African ancestry who were followed for 30 years. The team calculated genetic risk scores at the start of the study using genome-wide statistics of Alzheimer’s disease. 

The group with the highest genetic risk included people who had at least one copy of the APOE gene variant associated with Alzheimer’s disease, APOE e4. Of those with European ancestry, 27.9% had the APOE e4 variant. 

At the end of the study, 1,603 participants with European ancestry developed dementia, and 631 with African ancestry developed dementia. 

The team found that for those with European ancestry, for each one-point increase in the lifestyle factor score, there was a 9% lower risk of developing dementia. The intermediate and high categories of lifestyle factor score categories were associated with a 30% and 43% lower risk of dementia, respectively. 

In the African ancestry group, the intermediate and high categories were associated with 6% and 17% lower riks of dementia, respectively. 


American Academy of Neurology. “Seven healthy habits linked to lower risk of dementia in those with genetic risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2022. <>. 

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