The World Alzheimer Report 2014, ‘Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors’ critically examines the evidence for the existence of modifiable risk factors for dementia.
It focuses on sets of potential modifiable risk factors in four key domains:
- psychological and psychosocial
- lifestyle, and
- cardiovascular conditions.
The strongest evidence for possible causal associations with dementia are those of low education in early life, hypertension in midlife, smoking and diabetes across the life course.
The report makes recommendations to drive public health campaigns and disease prevention strategies. Improved detection and treatment of diabetes and hypertension, and smoking cessation, should be prioritised, including for older adults who are rarely specifically targeted in prevention programs. Increased physical activity and reduction in levels of obesity are also important.