A study by Dr. Elzbieta Kuzma gives hope to those with a family history of dementia. The team followed almost 200,000 people over 60, some of them with genetic variants of dementia. In those with a healthy lifestyle, the incidence of the disease has been reduced by 32%.
This means that eating well and exercising can counteract the influence of genes. Exter University researchers followed 197,000 people for 8 years. Each person was classified according to the risk of dementia, starting from a genetic test: high, medium or low.
The researchers then assessed the lifestyle over the years, analyzing nutrition, alcohol consumption and physical activity. At this point they combined the data collected with the number of people suffering from dementia, 1,769 only during follow-up. People with the absolute healthiest lifestyle were those who did not smoke, trained regularly and ate well. Very few of these have developed dementia, regardless of genetic risk. For the same genes, for them the risk of getting sick has been reduced by 32% compared to those who followed an unregulated lifestyle.
The study shows that genes play an important role but much more limited than we tend to believe. People with a genetic predisposition and an unhealthy lifestyle had three times the chance of getting sick, compared to those not predisposed and with a healthy lifestyle. This means that it is possible to balance genes with nutrition and physical activity.