New Study: Factors That Could Increase Dementia Risk

March 27, 2024

These are the three most harmful but then, obviously, the others, they have an effect.

Gwenaëlle Douaud, an associate professor at Oxford University and co-author of a new study suggesting diabetes, air pollution and alcohol intake frequency may be the biggest “modifiable risk factors” for developing dementia.

Why It Matters: More than 55 million people worldwide have dementia – a form of memory impairment impacting thinking and reasoning abilities – with the figure expected to largely increase in the coming years. In the new study, researchers studied contributing factors that could cause dementia by surveying nearly 40,000 adults’ brain scans. They examined more than 160 modifiable risk factors and determined diabetes, air pollution and frequency of alcohol consumption to be the top detrimental risk factors to parts of the brain particularly vulnerable to disease processes such as that of Alzheimer’s disease.(Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia.)

The Washington Post explains, “Diabetes, air pollution and alcohol consumption each has an effect that is about twice as much as the other leading risk factors, Douaud said. The next major risk factors are sleep, weight, smoking and blood pressure.”

Something To Consider: Douaud recommends several practices to help minimize cognitive decline – including healthy eating, drinking alcohol in moderation and engaging in both physical and social activity.

Read More: Study finds 3 big risk factors for dementia (The Washington Post)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas