Mid-life risk factors of dementia could guide prevention strategies

Dementia is the leading cause of dependence and disability in the elderly population worldwide. But currently there is no effective medication to treat dementia. Identifying lifestyle-related risk factors, including some that are modifiable, may provide important strategies for preventing dementia. Using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort, researchers recently found that risk factors of dementia include widowed marital status, lower body-mass index, and less sleep at mid-life. According to the authors, these findings could help public health officials develop targeted programs for dementia prevention. The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, was partly funded by NHLBI. The Framingham Heart Study is a joint project of NHLBI and Boston University.