Scientists in Denmark have estimated the proportion of people with a common dementia risk gene who will develop dementia in each of the three decades following their 60th birthday. The findings are published in the medical publication, CMAJ.
Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“By combining data from two large health studies in the Danish population, involving over 100,000 people, this research estimates the proportion of people with a common dementia risk gene who will develop dementia in each of the three decades following their 60th birthday.
“We know that dementia risk is influenced by a range of factors including age, sex, lifestyle and genetics. APOE is the gene that has the greatest effect on most people’s risk of dementia, but researchers have identified variations in around 30 other genes that are also linked to an altered risk.
“Identifying people who are most at risk is a vital part of large-scale risk reduction programmes for conditions like heart disease. As researchers work to develop strategies that can help people to maintain a healthy brain, it will become increasingly important to recognise those at the highest risk of dementia, for whom such strategies are likely to be particularly valuable.
“While age is the biggest risk factor for dementia, this does not mean the condition is an inevitable part of ageing. Although we cannot do anything about our age, sex or genetics, it’s important to remember there are things we can do to reduce our dementia risk.
“The best current evidence to maintain a healthy brain into later life is to eat a balanced diet, stay mentally and physically active, only drink within the recommended guidelines, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, and keep blood pressure and cholesterol in check.”