A recent study (international team of researchers from Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health in Canada and the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom) was done on 196,000 people over the age of 60, on the possibility of occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease according to:
- genetic predispositions (heredity of the terrain)
- a frailty score (presence of various symptoms, disabilities, age-related illnesses, etc.)
- of the way of life.
In the end, the study concludes, as one might have expected, that with or without genetic predisposition, an elderly subject whose lifestyle is healthier (diet, physical activity, sleep, etc.) avoids s weaken, and is less likely to see dementia set in.
Thus, reducing frailty very effectively decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Conversely, an established fragility increases by 2.5 times the risk of developing dementia whatever the genetic background. This also evokes the effect of epigenetics where the way of life and the environment modify the expression of an individual’s genes (see our article on epigenetics).
Dr. Kenneth Rockwood’s conclusion is “The risk of dementia reflects genetic, neuropathological, lifestyle and general health factors which, in turn, lead to a range of abnormalities in the brain”. It is therefore useful, in the context of the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, to actively avoid the onset of frailty during advancing age.