Dementia risk factors
It is both a challenging and exciting time to be investigating the relationship between traumatic brain injury (TBI) and dementia. A recent surge in attention around the topic is welcome but links with the milder-end of head injury in sport have to be treated with caution.
In his documentary programme Dementia, Football and Me, former footballer Alan Shearer investigates a potential link between playing football and the risk of a form of dementia related to head injuries. His documentary follows a small study we reported on earlier this year which pointed to the need for more research into an issue that other sports are already having to grapple with.
You often hear people saying ‘prevention is better than cure’, and while there is no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, we are beginning to understand that there are ways we could reduce our risk of developing the condition.
Along with Public Health England and Alzheimer’s Society, we ran an innovative pilot project which saw, for the first time, dementia risk reduction messages delivered to 40-64-year-olds during their NHS Health Check.
We know that around 99% of cases of Alzheimer’s are not directly inherited – they’re caused by a complex mix of age, genetic risk factors and lifestyle.
There is increasing recognition that a mixture of genetic, lifestyle and health factors are likely to contribute to whether someone develops dementia at a particular age.
While elements of risk might be set in stone, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this week we’ve heard from researchers who are targeting elements of lifestyle that may alter our dementia risk, so called ‘modifiable risk factors’.
Dementia is the most feared diagnosis in the over 55s in the UK, affecting around 850,000 people across the country. You often ask us why some people develop the condition and others don’t, and whether it’s possible to predict who will go on to get dementia.
In this blog, we’ll explore how common these genetic forms are and what role our genes play in non-genetic forms of Alzheimer’s.
In dementia, we know that what is good for the heart is good for the head and that keeping blood vessels healthy can help protect the brain and lower dementia risk.