Living in a wealthy area 'decreases risk of dementia'

Evrard Martin
Juillet 17, 2017

The study is unique in that it examined late middle-aged adults, whereas most studies usually examine older people, said Taylor Fields, a doctoral student in the Neuroscience Training Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Multiple studies have found that healthy eating habits, particularly the Mediterranean diet, which was originally developed to improve cardiovascular health, may now lower your risk of developing cognitive impairment up to 35%, the Alzheimer's Association International Conference released Monday.

In the study, researchers analysed two speech samples, taken two years apart, from 264 participants. The speech samples, averaging one minute long, were collected by asking the participants to describe a simple picture.

However, the declines detected in verbal fluency are "extremely subtle" and are essentially "compensation behavior", said Mueller, so family members may not at this point notice changes in everyday speech.

The content of their speech was less specific, with a higher proportion of pronouns to nouns - such as the words she, it and them. Their fluency was more disrupted (more hesitations, word repetitions, and filled pauses ("um", "uh")).

Experts also found those with eMCI used less complex syntax and shorter sentences, and took more time to express the same amount of content as the cognitively healthy group.

"[Today] we confirm everything that we've known, that changing your dietary pattern is actually quite impactful and you can change your trajectory of cognitive decline-if you adhere to a Mediterranean diet or other diets that are low in saturated fats, processed flour and sugar,"Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association (ALZ) tells FOX Business".

Emergency and urgent hospitalizations is another factor associated with accelerated cognitive decline in older people.

Data came from 930 older adults (75% female, mean age of 81 years old) enrolled in the Rush Memory and Ageing Project (MAP) in Chicago. "While recognizing that all medical procedures carry some degree of risk, this study implies that planned hospital encounters may not be as unsafe to the cognitive health of older persons as emergency or urgent situations". Information on hospitalisations was found by linking 1999-2010 Medicare claims records for these participants to their MAP data.

Of the 930 participants, 613 were hospitalised at least once over an average of nearly five years of observation. In a model adjusted for age, sex, education, self-reported chronic medical conditions, length of stay, surgeries, intensive care unit stays, and comorbidities, non-elective hospitalisations were associated with acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline from before hospitalisation, while elective hospitalisations were not.

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