Is it possible to prevent dementia? Is it genetic?
It is aimed at answering the question on the minds of many — Can dementia be prevented? The course covers the risk factors of dementia and explores how we can prevent dementia by modifying these risk factors. There are two modules. I completed module 1 and am progressing on module two.
I decided to list down some of the things I learnt from the MOOC so far:
1.There is evidence that we can reduce our risk in preventing Dementia. Prof Carol Brayne from the University of Cambridge didn’t believe it for decades until the research proved otherwise.
2. There are three types of intervention in public health
- Primary – removing the cause to prevent the onset of the disease
- Secondary – Early detection of disease & intervening to reduce its effects
- Tertiary – Intervention to improve quality of life in presence of a disorder
3. Through a study on people who got dementia, they found 7 major risk factors – low educational attainment, physical activity, depression, midlife hypertension, diabetes, smoking and midlife obesity. Two other factors — hearing loss and isolation were added later.
4. Although there is increased risk if someone in your family has dementia, the likelihood of genetic inheritance is small. It may not seem small because dementia is so prevalent and you may see many members in your family getting dementia. But, only 1% of dementia is inherited, the causes for the rest of dementia cases is unknown. When it is inherited, it usually happens to younger individuals – those in their 40s/50s.
5. If you are at a higher risk of getting dementia (based on family genetics), there are many lifestyle choices you can take to reduce your risk of getting dementia.
6. It is important to know your risk factor so you can explore how to reduce your risks and impact your brain.
7. Some research suggest that coffee may be able to reduce your risk of getting dementia. It is a stimulant that gives you short bursts of improved concentration thus, it may be able to help those with inflammation in the brain. But, there is no consistent evidence that coffee consumption can reduce your risk.
8.Tumeric is a plant with Curcumin which is known to have anti-inflamatory properties that may help to reduce the formation of plaques in the brain (which causes dementia). Indian cuisine uses quite a bit of Tumeric. Countries like India is found to have lower incidences of dementia. There was also a study in Singapore on how Indians are less likely to get dementia.
9. What is good for your health is good for your brain. Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, depression increases the risk of dementia.
Should I share what I’ve learnt from the second module in another blog post?