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Twelve Factors Account for About 40 Percent of Dementias

THURSDAY, July 30, 2020 -- Twelve factors account for about 40 percent of worldwide dementias, according to a report published online July 30 in The Lancet to coincide with the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2020, held virtually from July 27 to 31.

Noting that the number of older people, including those living with dementia is increasing, Gill Livingston, M.D., from the U.K. Dementia Research Institute in London, and colleagues address dementia prevention, intervention, and care.

The authors identified three additional risk factors for dementia -- excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution -- and incorporated them into a 12-risk factor life-course model of dementia prevention. These factors account for about 40 percent of worldwide dementias. The potential for prevention is high and may be higher in low- and middle-income countries where more cases of dementia occur. Childhood education should be prioritized for all, and public health initiatives such as decreasing harmful alcohol drinking, could potentially reduce dementia. In addition, specific actions that can address dementia risk factors include: aiming to maintain systolic blood pressure of ≤130 mm Hg, encouraging use of hearing aids, reducing air pollution exposure, preventing head injury, and stopping smoking. The goal of much of dementia care is well-being, and interventions should be individualized and should consider the patient as a whole and their family carers.

"Our ambition is for worldwide provision of resources for an adequate level of well-being to people with dementia and their carers with a better evidence base to guide individual care and policy making alike," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries.

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Posted: July 2020