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Longevity Briefs: Tackling These 12 Risk Factors Could Help Prevent 40% of Dementia Cases Worldwide

Posted on 9 November 2020

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Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Dementia is a neurological condition that results in the degradation of mental capabilities to a senile state, eventually resulting in death. In the UK alone there are currently 850,000 people living with some form of dementia, this is predicted to rise to over 2 million people by 2050.

You can check out a talk by Prof. Chas Bountra, vice chancellor of the University of Oxford, highlighting our current, and future, battle with dementia on the Gowing Life youtube page here.

What did the researchers do: The 2017 lancet commission on dementia provided nine potentially modifiable risk factors key to fighting this neurodegenerative epidemic. The recently published 2020 edition adds three more risk factors: brain injury, air pollution and excessive alcohol consumption. The authors model these twelve risk factors into early, mid and late life.

Source: Dementia prevention, intervention, and care: 2020 report of the Lancet Commission. DOI:

Key takeaway(s) from this research: The report focuses on actionable points to help with the prevention, intervention and care of dementia. Tackling these 12 risk factors could help prevent up to 40% of dementia cases worldwide:

  1. It is good for your brain health to be more educated.
  2. Use ear protection from high noise levels. And if you have hearing loss, wear a hearing aid.
  3. Try to avoid head injury as much as possible.
  4. Consistently aim to keep blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less in midlife.
  5. Drink no more than 210 ml of alcohol each week.
  6. Do everything you can to prevent obesity.
  7. Quit smoking.
  8. Do what you can to prevent becoming depressed.
  9. Increase socialization, and spending time with other people.
  10. Maintain an active lifestyle in middle and later life.
  11. Reduce your exposure to both air pollution and secondhand tobacco residue.
  12. Make sure to do what you can to prevent diabetes.

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