A brain-healthy lifestyle may be related to lower dementia risk, regardless of demographic or socioeconomic differences


A new meta-analysis, recently published in the journal Alzheimer's and Dementia, underlines the potential of a healthy lifestyle for dementia risk reduction. The international group of researchers, led by the Alzheimer Centre Limburg (Maastricht University, Netherlands), harmonised and combined information from 21 geographically, ethnically and socio-economically diverse cohorts. Those cohorts were part of the Cohort Studies of Memory in an International Consortium (COSMIC) collaboration, representing 31,680 people from 17 countries across six continents. The potential for risk reduction by lifestyle modification in each cohort was quantified using the group’s LIfestyle for BRAinhealth (LIBRA) index, which summarises the relative contribution of the following factors to dementia risk: physical activity, smoking, diet, cognitive activity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, chronic kidney disease, coronary heart disease, and alcohol consumption. 

Demographic information was also collected, along with information about education and socio-economic position (inferred from income and occupation). The authors found that a generally healthier lifestyle was associated with a lower risk for dementia in a majority of included cohorts. More specifically, a one point decrease in LIBRA scores (indicating a healthier lifestyle and ranging from -5.9 to +12.7) was associated with a 6% decrease in dementia risk. They further note that these associations remained generally stable for people with different levels of educational attainment, socio-economic status, and were also comparable between men and women. However, though a healthier lifestyle predicted dementia risk across geographical regions, this was particularly pronounced in Asian cohorts. “Our findings underline the prospect of lifestyle modification for dementia risk reduction, which appears to be relevant on a global scale”, Stephanie Van Asbroeck, lead author of the paper, explains. The full open-access article can be read here: