More proof that healthy lifestyle reduces cognitive impairment, dementia risk
Compared to nonsmokers, quitters and minimal stable smokers did not have an increased risk for cognitive decline, according to study results presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
A separate study, presented at the same event, suggested that adopting multiple healthy lifestyle interventions lowered one’s dementia risk.
Link between smoking, dementia
Citing a paucity of research, Amber Bahorik, PhD, MSW, postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues examined smoking affected later cognitive function among 3,364 adults. The mean age of the patients in the study was 50.1 years, 56% were women, 46% were black and 49% had smoked at least once in a 25-year period that ended by 2011.
Bahorik and colleagues found that the quitters and minimal stable smokers did not have an increased risk for cognitive impairment vs. never smokers. Those who had a heavy stable smoking trajectory scored poorly on several cognitive performance tests every 2 to 5 years vs. nonsmokers even after adjustment for physical and health factors (Digit Symbol Substitution Test: adjusted OR = 2.22; 95% CI 1.53-3.22; Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test: aOR = 1.48; 95% CI, 1.05-2.1; Stroop test: aOR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.05-2.36).
“This adds to the already dense body of evidence showing continued smoking negatively impacts several health functions and emphasizes the benefits of quitting,” Bahorik said in a press release.
Adopting multiple healthy habits reduces dementia risk
Klodian Dhana, MD, PhD, assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues studied data from 2,531 patients, focusing on how participating in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, eating a healthy diet, engaging in cognitively stimulating activities, drinking alcohol in light to moderate amounts and not smoking impacted these patients’ risk for dementia.
Researchers reported that during an average follow-up of 6 to 9 years, there were 522 new cases of Alzheimer’s dementia. Dhana and colleagues also found that participants who engaged in four or five low-risk lifestyle factors, had about 60% lower risk for Alzheimer’s dementia vs. those who did not follow any or only participated in one of the low-risk factors. In addition, participants who took on one more low-risk lifestyle factor, whatever their current number of factors, decreased their risk for Alzheimer’s dementia by an additional 22%.
“Our study underscores the importance of adherence to all five low-risk lifestyle factors for maximum health benefit, and as an effective strategy for lowering the risk of Alzheimer's dementia,” Dhana and colleagues wrote. – by Janel Miller
Bahorik A, et al. Early adult to mid-life cigarette smoking and cognitive function: findings from the CARDIA study.
Klodian D, et al. Impact of healthy lifestyle factors on the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia; findings from two prospective cohort studies.
Both presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. July 14-18, 2019; Los Angeles.
Disclosures: Healio Primary Care was unable to determine the authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.