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This Can Slash Your Dementia Risk in Half, Says Study

A healthy lifestyle can make it far less likely for you to get dementia.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

Genetics are what they are—you can't change them. Unfortunately, your genes are one of the primary risk factors for dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. However, there are things you can do to keep memory disorders at bay. And, according to a recent study, one of them can cut your risk of dementia in half, regardless of whether you are genetically predisposed to dementia. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.

This Kind of Lifestyle Can Slash Your Dementia Risk

Per the study, published this week in PLOS Medicine, a healthier lifestyle can significantly lower your risk of cognitive impairment, regardless of whether or not you carry the APOE gene, known to put an individual at an increased risk of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. 

Xurui Jin of Duke Kunshan University in Jiangsu, China, and colleagues examined data from 6,160 adults aged 80 or older who had participated in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey, a large ongoing study. Initially, they were investigating links between the gene, lifestyle, and cognition, but soon noticed that participants with healthy lifestyles were significantly less likely to have cognitive impairment than those with an unhealthy lifestyle to the tune of 55 percent. Those with intermediately healthy lifestyles were 28 percent less likely to have it. They also determined participants with APOE ε4 were 17 percent more likely to have cognitive impairment than those with other forms of APOE.

The researchers defined lifestyle profile by a healthy lifestyle score including smoking, alcohol consumption, body weight, dietary pattern, and physical activity.

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It's Worth It, the Study Shows

"In summary, we found that the APOE genotype and lifestyle profiles were independently associated with cognitive impairment. In addition, the association between lifestyle profile and cognition was independent of APOE genotype among Chinese oldest old. Our results, corroborated by other interventional studies on lifestyle modification and cognitive function, support the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyle throughout the life course, even among the oldest old," they study authors wrote. 

"Our results suggest the importance of a healthier lifestyle for cognition regardless of genetic dementia risk and increases our understanding of this relationship in the oldest older adults (80 years and older)," the study authors concluded. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.