As for its causes, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common causes of dementia and is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
New guidelines for preventing dementia focus on keeping the whole body healthy as a way to prevent mental decline. The report said that although age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable effect of ageing.
"There are almost 10 million new cases every year, inflicting a heavy economic burden on societies as a whole".
"While some people are unlucky and inherit a combination of genes that makes it highly likely they will develop dementia, many people have the opportunity to substantially reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle", Tara Spires-Jones, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and program leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute, told the Science Media Center Tuesday.
The 12 lifestyle choices and conditions which fuel dementia have been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the most definitive list ever of how to avoid mental decline in later life.
Eating well, and possibly following a Mediterranean-style diet, may help prevent dementia, the guidelines say.
Neerja Chowdhary, a World Health Organization expert, said that the study had not looked at smoking marijuana and did not include environmental factors, although there was some evidence of a link with pollution, and there was too little evidence of a link with poor sleep to include it in the recommendations.
"People should be looking for these nutrients through food. not through supplements", Carrillo agreed. These can be considered for people with normal capacities or mild impairment, but there's low to very low evidence of benefit.
"We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia". Hearing aids also may not reduce dementia risk, but older people should be screened for hearing loss and treated accordingly.