An estimated 47 million people worldwide are living with dementia in 2015, and this number is projected to triple by 2050. In the absence of a disease-modifying treatment or cure, reducing the risk of developing dementia takes on added importance. In 2014, the World Dementia Council (WDC) requested the Alzheimer's Association evaluate and report on the state of the evidence on modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia. This report is a summary of the Association's evaluation, which was presented at the October 2014 WDC meeting. The Association believes there is sufficient evidence to support the link between several modifiable risk factors and a reduced risk for cognitive decline, and sufficient evidence to suggest that some modifiable risk factors may be associated with reduced risk of dementia. Specifically, the Association believes there is sufficiently strong evidence, from a population-based perspective, to conclude that regular physical activity and management of cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension) reduce the risk of cognitive decline and may reduce the risk of dementia. The Association also believes there is sufficiently strong evidence to conclude that a healthy diet and lifelong learning/cognitive training may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Keywords: Alzheimer's Association; Alzheimer's disease; Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Cognitive decline; Cognitive training; Dementia; Diabetes; Diet; Hypertension; Lifelong learning; Lifestyle risk factors; Modifiable risk factors; Obesity; Physical activity; Risk factors; Smoking; World Dementia Council.
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