A new report suggests that encouraging people to adopt a healthy lifestyle may prevent around 80,000 cases of dementia in the UK each year. The report is due to be presented at the World Innovation Summit for Health in February, chaired by former health minister Lord Darzi. Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, Lord Darzi argues that while ‘the most urgent task remains finding a cure’, lifestyle changes play an important part in reducing the risk of dementia.
Dr Matthew Norton, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“While there’s currently no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, a growing body of evidence suggests lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of the condition, and we know that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain. It’s imperative for these messages to reach the public if we are to enable people to take action in midlife to help lower their risk of dementia in later life.
“Lord Darzi rightly talks of the immense scale of the challenge: dementia shatters lives and currently costs the UK economy £24bn a year. Research is making progress, but to capitalise on its promise and find ways to treat and prevent dementia continued investment is vital. In the meantime, the risk of dementia can be reduced with a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and keeping blood pressure and weight in check.”