Avoiding alcohol reduces dementia risk, major new study shows

A healthy diet had the strongest effect on slowing memory decline, followed by cognitive activity and then physical exercise. Photo: Pexels

(Stephen Beech/ Independent UK) –– A healthy lifestyle – in particular a nutritious diet – slows memory decline in older people, according to major new research.

The decade-long study of Chinese adults over the age of 60, published in The BMJ, showed that the benefits of healthy living were even seen in those with a gene making them genetically susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

Carriers of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene – the strongest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s and related dementia – saw a slowing in memory loss thanks to healthy living such as staying teetotal.

The Chinese research team said that memory continuously declines as people age, but evidence from existing studies is insufficient to assess the effect of a healthy lifestyle on memory in later life.

Given the many possible causes of memory decline, they explained that a combination of healthy behaviours might be needed for the best effect. (…)