Older individuals may be able to lower their risk of developing dementia by improving their diet and by taking steps to avoid diabetes and depression, according to a new study published in the August issue of the British Medical Journal.
Although the cause of dementia is still unknown, researchers have begun to find evidence linking the debilitating condition to certain modifiable risk factors.
For the study, a team of French and British researchers sought to identify which of these lifestyle habits has the greatest influence on dementia risk.
To do so the investigators recruited 1,433 healthy men and women over the age of 65 and followed them for a period of seven years. Throughout the study, participants completed dietary and general health questionnaires and underwent cognitive testing.
After analyzing the information, the researchers found that stamping out diabetes and depression and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption would reduce dementia cases by 21 percent over the next seven years.
In contrast, eliminating genetic factors would only reduce new dementia cases by 7 percent during the same period.