Studies performed by both French and UK experts show prevention of dementia is most likely when those affected avoid diabetes and depression, become more educated, and also eat a more balanced diet with fruits and vegetables.
Industrialized societies are largely dependent on dementia, as those affected consistently lose their ability to properly care for themselves and perform necessary daily tasks.
While researchers cannot determine an exact cause of dementia, research has identified several factors that may increase the risk. Risk factors for dementia include a history of alcoholism, depression, poor diet, and lack of education.
Experts estimated the impact eliminating several of the controllable risk factors would have on the rate of dementia.
For this investigation, researchers examined data from 1,433 healthy individuals residing in southern France. All individuals were 65 and over, while the average age was between 72 and 73 years old.
At the beginning of the study, the individuals performed cognitive tests. Tests were also performed two, four, and seven years after the original tests took place. In addition, participants were asked to complete a reading test to determine their lifetime intelligence, and a genetic test to reveal their potential genetic risk.
Researchers revealed shocking information after evaluating subjects over the seven years.
- Eliminating diabetes and depression while consuming more fruits/vegetables can reduce new dementia cases by 21%
- Largest impact would result from the elimination of depression (over 10%)
- Increase education levels can lead to a reduction of new dementia cases by 18%
- Elimination of genetic risk factors would only reduce new dementia cases by 7%
Based on their finding, researchers can conclude increasing education, eliminating depression, and consumption of a balanced diet containing fruits and vegetables are the most effective controllable factors to reduce or prevent new cases of dementia.