A central theme of our outreach messaging over the past decade centers on the role of our everyday lifestyle decisions in influencing the health destiny of our brains. As many of you know, we recently produced a docuseries Alzheimer’s – The Science of Prevention that reveals how our most well-respected scientific journals are making it very clear that each of us is truly the architect of our cognitive health destiny. We reveal exactly what we need to be doing day to day to meaningfully increase our chances of a life without Alzheimer’s disease.
And to bring everyone right up to date on the science, I’d like to discuss a study just published in the prestigious journal Neurology.
In this 2020 study, researchers combined data from two different populations for a total of close to 2000 adult individuals followed for approximately 6 years. Healthy lifestyle metrics that were followed in these participants included nonsmoking, moderate to vigorous physical activity, a high-quality Mediterranean-type diet, light to moderate alcohol consumption, and engagement in late-life cognitive activities. The degree of participation in each of these activities was ultimately compared to risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The results of the research were absolutely worth writing home about. Compared with individuals who scored positive on only 0 or 1 healthy lifestyle factor, those who chose to live their lives such that they had 2 or 3 of the healthy lifestyle parameters had a 37% decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In those with 4 or 5 of the healthy lifestyle factors listed above, the risk of Alzheimer’s developing during the study was reduced by a dramatic 60%!
Think of it, a risk reduction for a disease for which there is no meaningful treatment by 60%. Who wouldn’t want that. And while this study looked at certain variables like diet, exercise, smoking, and others, we know that other factors also contribute to risk reduction like sleep and meditation, for example.
Our mission is to provide the tools for better brain health and avoidance of brain degeneration and for our team, this report is certainly profoundly validating. To be clear, we would absolutely welcome the development of any meaningful treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, now affecting some 5.8 million Americans. But for now, not only is there no treatment, but there doesn’t seem to be anything really promising on the horizon. And this is why recognizing the fact that each of us can engage in Alzheimer’s prevention is so very important.
For more of the latest science, learn more about The Science of Prevention and consider joining us for this important event.