WHO Issues Guide to Cut Risks of Dementia

Alicia Farmer
May 17, 2019

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple".

It said that the condition affected the memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement of an individual. As for its causes, Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common causes of dementia and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. These includes regular exercise, not drinking and smoking and adopting a healthy "Mediterranean-like" diet. The cost of caring for dementia patients is predicted to surge to $2 trillion by 2030.

Stopping smoking, a healthy diet and avoiding harmful use of alcohol were also among the recommendations of the WHO's report, entitled "Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia".

The WHO also recommends caring for the carers of those with declining cognitive functions. However, there was not always strong evidence that dementia risk would be reduced with these steps.

The guidelines were created to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge they need to advise patients on the measures they can take to reduce their risk for cognitive decline and dementia.

Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer disease or stroke.

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"While some people are unlucky and inherit a combination of genes that makes it highly likely they will develop dementia, many people have the opportunity to substantially reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle", Tara Spires-Jones, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and program leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute, told the Science Media Center Tuesday.

In its new set of global guidelines to reduce dementia risk, World Health Organization advises to avoid taking dietary supplements.

"People should be looking for these nutrients through food. not through supplements", Carrillo agreed.

"Dementia is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people globally".

The guidelines also do not endorse engaging in activities aimed at boosting cognition such as puzzles and games, saying that whilst these could be good for people with normal cognition or only mild impairment, there is little research showing that they are actually beneficial in terms of preventing dementia.

The largest increase in cases over the next three decades will be seen in low- and middle-income countries where overall population growth is the highest, World Health Organization said, warning that many healthcare systems will face significant challenges.

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