The Caerphilly Collaborative Cohort Study assessed the association of five lifestyle
factors with various health indicators among men aged 45 to 59 over 30 years.
The five factors were:
• Not smoking
• Low body weight (BMI 18 to 25)
• Regular exercise (at least one-half hour walking or equivalent, e.g., 2 miles
of walking or 10 miles of biking a day)
• Plant-based diet (at least three servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day)
• Low alcohol intake (one glass of wine a day or less)
The study found that of those studied, just 5% had “healthy” behavior defined as
adhering to four or five of the healthy behaviors. They had about a 60% lower
incidence of dementia than the 39% of men who were defined as “unhealthy” with
no or just one of the five healthy behaviors. After the exclusion of men with
early-onset dementia, of the five behaviors, exercise was found to have the strongest
correlation with avoidance of dementia.
The Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and
Disability (FINGER) was a randomized controlled trial based on the theory that
multiple factors are involved in the causation of Alzheimer disease. It carried
out the simultaneous modification of vascular and lifestyle-related risk factors that
have been found to be associated with dementia risk in observational studies: an
intensive 2-year Mediterranean style diet, supervised exercise, cognitive training,
and cardiovascular risk monitoring. The study assessed changes in cognition with
a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery and compared the intervention
group to a control group that got general health advice and cardiovascular monitoring.
The study found that both groups improved cognitive performance, but
the intervention group benefited 25% more than the control group. The authors of
the study concluded that their trial suggests that a multifactorial intervention could
improve or maintain cognitive functioning in at-risk older people.
A study from the U.K. found that both high genetic risk and absence of healthy
lifestyle factors (not smoking, regular physical activity, healthy diet, and moderate
alcohol consumption) were associated with increased risk of developing dementia.
Those with the lowest lifestyle scores had a 34% higher risk of dementia compared
to those with the best. A low lifestyle score, together with high genetic risk, tripled
the risk of dementia compared to those with low genetic risk and the healthiest
lifestyles. Having the highest genetic risk increased the risk of dementia by 91%
over those at low genetic risk. A favorable lifestyle decreased the risk of dementia
among those with high genetic risk by about one-third.
This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.