Medical genetics

The study find that the Having a healthy lifestyle doesn’t only help you lose weight, but it may also offset the genetic risk in developing dementia, a new study published in JAMA found. A team of researchers at the University of Exeter found that living a healthy lifestyle, because including eating a good diet and having regular exercise, may help people with a high genetic risk of dementia, to counterbalance developing it.

Offset the genetic risk

The researchers found that the risk of dementia decreased by 32 percent in people with a high genetic risk if they followed a healthy lifestyle; compared to those who had an unhealthy lifestyle. Therefore Among the individuals with a high genetic risk; those who watched their diet, performed regular exercise, didn’t smoke; and kept alcohol consumption to a minimum; were less likely to develop dementia later in life.

Worse, the participants with high genetic risk and an unhealthy and unfavorable lifestyle were about three times more likely to develop dementia. The study; which was present at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 in Los Angeles; shows how a healthy lifestyle can contribute to an individual’s overall health, including brain health.

Unhealthy and unfavorable lifestyle

To land to their findings; the team of international researchers analyzed data from nearly 200,000 individuals, who were of European ancestry aged 60 years old without any cognitive impairment or dementia at baseline. These individuals joined the UK Biobank study between 2006 and 2010 and were followed-up until 2016 or 2017.

The UK Biobank study was long-term research of older individuals that tracks several factors that contribute to a range of diseases, which include heart disease, cancer, depression; and dementia. The team split the participants into five equal groups based on the combination of almost 250,000 genetic variants associated with Alzheimer’s disease in those of European ancestry. From there, the team formulated three categories  low, intermediate; and high dementia genetic risk.

Tracks several factors

From there; the researchers assessed the genetic risk by looking at previously published information and determined all known genetic factors of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore They weighted every genetic risk factor based on the strength of its link to the disease. For the participants’ lifestyle; the team grouped them into favorable, intermediate, and unfavorable lifestyle categories.

These were based on a self-reported survey on their diet, exercise, alcohol consumption; and smoking. Therefore Favorable or healthy lifestyle included those who are not smoking a cigarette, ate a healthy diet; had moderate alcohol consumption, and had regular exercise or physical activity.