Healthy lifestyle trumps genetic risk of dementia!
Lifestyle can trump genetics—even when it comes to having an inherited biological make-up that doubles the risk of dementia.
A healthy lifestyle—including a good diet and not smoking—reduces the risk of dementia by around 30 per cent in people who have a genetic predisposition to develop the condition.
Healthy living has an even bigger protective effect in people who don't have the 'bad genes', which suggests the problem is avoidable for most people who live well, say researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK.
They tracked the health of more than 196,000 people with an average age of 64, and who weren't showing any signs of dementia.
Of these, 20 per cent had a higher risk of developing the condition because of their genetic profile—and 1.13 per cent of those who followed a healthy lifestyle eventually suffered from dementia compared to 1.78 per cent who developed the condition and had an unhealthy diet and didn't exercise, suggesting lifestyle did have an impact on genes.
Just 0.5 per cent of those with low genetic risk and good lifestyle developed dementia.
A healthy lifestyle includes physical activity, moderate alcohol drinking, a healthy diet and not smoking, the researchers say.
(Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, July 14, 2019; doi: 10.1001/jama.2019.9879)