Scientific research supports lifestyle changes to help prevent the risk of developing dementia.
Physical activity, smoking cessation, social engagement, cognitive stimulation and diet were shown to lower the risk of developing dementia.
The evidence supporting the impact of these lifestyle changes is outlined in the August edition of the international medical journal Maturitas, by Professor Leon Flicker, Director of the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing and Winthrop Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Western Australia.
"What’s interesting is that these lifestyle changes, such as physical activity, don’t just have benefits for memory and preventing Alzheimer’s disease they can also ward off other illness, such as heart disease, and assist in overall wellbeing," says Professor Flicker.
"This is big news for people who have memory concerns. These lifestyle changes are not expensive and do not involve pharmaceutical treatment."
"I would encourage everyone who has memory concerns to incorporate these lifestyle changes into their lives – today!"
"Our population is ageing rapidly and age-related disorders such as dementia are on the rise, so it is crucial that we continue to build on this evidence to find ways to prevent and delay dementia."
Dementia has often been thought to be unavoidable and incurable. However, while the risk of dementia increases with age, dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
Alzheimer’s Australia estimates there are over 227,300 people with dementia, a number expected to rise to around 731,000 by 2050.
Researchers at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing are hoping to add to this body of scientific evidence and are calling for volunteers who are journeying with Alzheimer’s and their family, friends and carers who would like to be involved in either a physical or mental activity intervention. For information about the study, contact: Cheryl Ackoy on 9224 2855.
(Source: University of Western Australia: Maturitas: September 2009)