Protecting memories

Three lifestyle strategies may lower the risk of dementia

In the U.S., more than 5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. But effective treatments are few and far between; no new drugs have been approved for more than a decade, and the drugs currently in use do not represent a cure. Therefore, researchers are looking for lifestyle adjustments that can prevent age-related memory loss and dementia. Recently, an expert panel released a report report, “Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward,” evaluating evidence from hundreds of randomized clinical trials. The panel identified three strategies that may lower the risk of memory loss:

Regularly exercising, though more research is needed to determine how much and which forms are best.

Managing blood pressure, especially from ages 35 to 65.

Doing “brain training,” including memory and problem-solving exercises.