New Research Links Dementia With 5 Lifestyle Factors

New Research Links Dementia With 5 Lifestyle Factors

Diet and other modifiable lifestyle variables are linked to inequality-related dementia risk, according to a recent research. Even while the frequency of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia continues to rise in the United States, a new study reveals that lifestyle factors including food, exercise, and sleep have a substantial effect in decreasing the risk of getting dementia. Two new studies, the researchers say, provide light on the factors that might disproportionately affect people of color and low-income in the United States who are diagnosed with dementia.

While the importance of healthy lifestyles for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) has been recognized, epidemiologic evidence remains limited for non-White or low-income individuals who bear disproportionate burdens of ADRD. This population-based cohort study aims to investigate associations of lifestyle factors, individually and together, with the risk of ADRD among socioeconomically disadvantaged Americans.

The data for this study came from the Southern Community Cohort Study, an ongoing investigation of the root causes of a wide range of illnesses and health inequalities that was initiated in 2001. Roughly 85,000 individuals were recruited from southern United States community health centers. The study has one of the greatest proportions of African-Americans of any big research cohort in the United States, with 63% of participants being of African descent. Using Medicare claims data, the study authors followed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease among people aged 65 and above.

During the first research’s median four-year follow-up period, information was gathered from 17,209 older study participants, 1,694 of whom had dementia types such as Alzheimer’s disease. Each factor, as well as their interactions, were analyzed, including but not limited to cigarette and alcohol use, regular exercise, time spent sleeping, hours spent eating, and the overall quality of the diet.

A lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias was shown to be connected with a number of healthy lifestyle factors. These factors included not smoking, engaging in vigorous recreational activity, drinking moderately, getting enough sleep, and eating a nutritious diet. A composite score based on these five lifestyle characteristics was linked with a 36% lower risk in the highest vs lowest quartile. Age, sex, race, education, wealth, and the presence or absence of preexisting chronic conditions had no impact on these correlations.

Researchers analyzed data from 14,500 older adults, of whom 1,402 acquired Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia. Using a validated food frequency questionnaire and polyphenol databases, this team examined consumption of flavonoids, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and lignans, along with their respective subclasses. Many foods, including tea, chocolate and other foods, contain polyphenols, a wide class of substances thought to have beneficial effects on health.

Polyphenol consumption varied significantly between ethnic groups in this study, with White individuals ingesting around twice as much total polyphenols as Black participants on a daily basis. Neither Black nor White individuals showed a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia when compared to those with lower intakes of total dietary polyphenols; however, specific flavonoids were linked with a reduced risk. The results indicated that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease was 28% lower among Black people who consumed the most tea compared to those who consumed the least.


Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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