Dementia and memory loss do not have to be part of aging. Good habits can help stave off damage to our brains, according to a new study from a risk reduction work group of nine clinicians and health researchers convened by UsAgainstAlzheimers, a national nonprofit that works to stop the devastation of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
"The ideal scenario is for us all to live into our 90s, physically fit and functioning, with our cognitive abilities intact," says Thomas M Holland, MD, MS, physician-researcher at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center, one of the expert members of the group. "Hopefully, with these lifestyle modifications, we can start to see that happen much more regularly."
The study is aimed at primary care physicians and general neurologists, in hopes that they will translate its recommendations into toolkits for care teams to use with patients. However, there are valuable takeaways for individuals as well. As the population ages, dementia is on track to triple by 2060, Holland says, and as many as 40% of dementia cases may be associated with modifiable risk factors.