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WHO recommends healthy lifestyle to reduce risk of dementia

17 May 2019

New guidelines from the United Nations' World Health Organization suggest that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting a healthy lifestyle. According to the United Nations health agency, having a healthy diet, especially a Mediterranean one, maintaining healthy blood pressure, consuming less amount of alcohol, and exercising regularly could help in reducing the risk of the brain condition.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director general, said: "The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected, that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain". "The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain", Ghebreyesus added.

Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem that affects around 50 million people globally, according to the WHO, with almost 10 million new cases coming up every year.

WHO hopes the guidelines will help health professionals better advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. The disease causes disability and places a costly heath care burden on countries - by 2030, dementia cost are expected to reach $2 billion each year.

Dementia affects roughly 5 million Americans and that number is expected to grow dramatically in the next few years, according to Braintest.

"While some people are unlucky and inherit a combination of genes that makes it highly likely they will develop dementia, many people have the opportunity to substantially reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle", Tara Spires-Jones, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and program leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute, told the Science Media Center Tuesday.

"People should be looking for these nutrients through food. not through supplements", Carrillo agreed.

And they hint that an active social life could also be beneficial, pointing to studies showing that social disengagement can place older individuals at increased risk of cognitive impairment. "This is why WHO created iSupport...an online training programme providing carers of people with dementia with advice on overall management of care, dealing with behaviour changes and how to look after their own health".

Among WHO's recommendations for managing this growing public health issue is the creation of national policies and plans. (The Guidelines are available in multiple languages and audio forms).

WHO recommends healthy lifestyle to reduce risk of dementia