Healthy lifestyle behaviors may significantly reduce Alzheimer’s dementia risk
The combination of several healthy lifestyle behaviors appeared to significantly reduce risk for Alzheimer’s dementia, according to results of two longitudinal studies published in Neurology.
“Simultaneous adherence to lifestyle factors — nonsmoking, being physically and cognitively active, having a high-quality diet, limiting alcohol use — could be a key for maximizing the effect of each lifestyle factor on the risk for dementia,” Klodian Dhana, MD, PhD, of Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center, told Healio Psychiatry. “Prior research has shown that each of these lifestyle factors contributes to lower risk for dementia, but the role of an overall healthy lifestyle was less studied.”
Dhana and colleagues sought to determine the impact of healthy lifestyle behaviors on the risk for Alzheimer’s dementia. They collected data of 1,845 participants of the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), as well as of 920 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP). Thy defined a healthy lifestyle score based on several factors — nonsmoking, at least 150 minutes of moderate/vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, light to moderate alcohol consumption, high-quality Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay diet and late-life cognitive activities engagement. Scores ranged from zero to five. Dhana and colleagues used Cox proportional hazard models for each cohort to estimate the HR and 95% CI of the lifestyle score with Alzheimer’s dementia, and they pooled the results using a random-effect meta-analysis.
Results showed 379 CHAP and 229 MAP participants had incident Alzheimer’s dementia during median follow-up of 5.8 years and 6 years, respectively. Multivariable-adjusted models revealed a pooled HR of Alzheimer’s dementia across the two cohorts of 0.73 (95% CI, 0.66-0.8) for every additional healthy lifestyle behavior. Risk for Alzheimer’s dementia was 37% lower (pooled HR = 0.63; 95% CI,0.47-0.84) among individuals with two to three healthy lifestyle behaviors and 60% lower (pooled HR = 0.4; 95% CI, 0.28-0.56) among individuals with four to five health lifestyle behaviors compared with those with zero to one healthy lifestyle behavior.
“From these findings and the fact that the lifestyle factors we studied are modifiable and in direct control of the individual, it is imperative to promote them concurrently among older adults as a strategy to delay or prevent [Alzheimer’s] dementia,” the researchers wrote.