World Health Organization urges exercise and non-smoking in first advice on dementia

Eat well, exercise more: New global guidelines to reduce risk of dementia

To Prevent Dementia, Try Exercise, Not Vitamin Pills: WHO

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director general, said: "The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected, that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain". "The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain", Ghebreyesus added.

"While there is no curative treatment for dementia, the proactive management of modifiable risk factors can delay or slow onset or progression of the disease", WHO Assistant Director General Ren Minghui wrote in the report. Don't smoke. They're among the commonsense habits the World Health Organisation (WHO) says may keep your brain sharp and shield you from dementia as you age.

The big caveat to the 77-page report is that, on the whole, the evidence that lifestyle habits reduce the odds of developing dementia isn't very strong - most of the recommendations lean more to "We're not sure if this guideline has much effect on dementia, but there's no harm in following it", rather than "Following this guideline will definitely lower the risk".

It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgment. There are around 10 million new cases of dementia every year, and this statistic is expected to triple by 2050, according to the report.

Since dementia is now incurable and so many experimental therapies have failed, focusing on prevention may "give us more benefit in the shorter term", Carrillo said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many types of dementia, but Alzheimer's is the most common.

It added that the number is projected to almost double every 20 years, increasing to 3.48 million by 2030 and 7.62 million by 2050. The costs of caring for dementia patients are growing, too: It costs somewhere around $818 billion each year, most of the burden on patients' family members, and that figure might rise to $2 trillion by 2030.

The study estimated that the number of dementia cases increased by over 400 per cent over a 20-year period, from 63,500 in 1995 to 31,8000 in 2015.

The guidelines are designed for use by healthcare providers and also for governments, policy-makers and planning authorities.

Latest News