Health Technologies

Public urged to do more to stave off dementia

People of all ages are being urged to do more to help lower their risk of developing dementia in later life.

Charity Alzheimer’s Research UK has released a new tool that tests brain health and offers tips on how to keep your mind sharp, stay active and socialise.

The test takes around 10 minutes to complete, with advice offered at the end.

Around 40 per cent of dementia cases are linked to lifestyle factors which can be modified to reduce an individual’s risk of developing the condition.

Professor Jonathan Schott, chief medical officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said that only 30 of people are aware that they can make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk.

The expert said:

“There are some people who are (genetically) destined to develop dementia, but we know now that up to 40 per cent of worldwide dementia risk is potentially modifiable.

“And we now are developing a rational evidence base of at least 12 modifiable and potentially modifiable risk factors

“It’s vital that we do all that we can, as individuals and society, to reduce our risk.”

Academics have called for brain health to be included as part of the NHS Health Check after a survey found that just 2 per cent of adults are taking the right steps to look after their brain health.

These include keeping the brain active with daily challenges, keeping fit, staying active and socialising.

Meanwhile, people in their 40s and 50s are being advised to get their hearing checked regularly, with several studies showing a link between hearing loss and dementia risk.

Dr Sarah Bauermeister, senior scientist at Dementia Platforms UK, said:

“Why is not clear, but a probable factor is they are working harder to hear conversations rather than focusing on cognitive tasks – and their world shrinks.”

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It’s time for the nation to wake up to the idea of brain health and how looking after our brains can reduce the risk of dementia.”

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