Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia
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One of the ways people can reduce their risk can be found at home.
According to a new study, gardening could reduce the risk of dementia by around 21 percent.
The research was conducted by researchers from Sichuan University in China using data from the UK Biobank on people between the ages of 40 and 69.
They also discovered those who regularly walked, cycled, or swap were over a third less likely to develop dementia.
Speaking about the study, lead author Dr Huan Song said: “We found that exercise, household chores, and social visits were linked to a reduced risk of various types of dementia.”
The reducing in risk of dementia was found to be significant even after the person’s family history and genetic risk of developing dementia was taken into account.
Furthermore, the study also took into account other factors such as age and alcohol consumption.
In reaction to the study, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK Dr Sara Imarisio said: “The study adds to evidence that finding something you can stick to, that keeps you physically and socially active, is likely to have the great benefit to your health rather than the activity itself.”
One of the key positives of gardening noted was not just increased blood flow to the brain due to exercise, but also the communal aspect.
Gardening is often an activity conducted in a group, one which involved social interaction that stimulates the brain.
Social isolation is one of the main risk factors for the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease.
However, it isn’t the only risk factor.
Other risk factors include:
• Gender and sex
• Cognitive reserve
• Health conditions and diseases
• Air pollution.
This last risk factor, air pollution, was widely agreed upon by those in the dementia community, but until recently, not by government.
In a landmark report, the UK government ruled that air pollution could increase the risk of dementia.
In the report they said: “The epidemiological evidence reviewed fairly consistently reports associations between chronic exposure to air pollution and reduced global cognition and impairment in visuospatial abilities as well as cognitive decline and increased risk of dementia.”
The reason for air pollution’s negative affect is thought to be down to pollutants entering the cardiovascular system and subsequently flow of blood to the brain.
In response to the growing problems caused by air pollution the government recently passed the Environment Act which aims to cut dangerous levels of air pollutants.
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