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Published: 2019-05-23 15:50 | Updated: 2019-05-24 13:20

The WHO is releasing, for the first time, Guidelines on risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia.

Professor Miia Kivipelto and her team - the Nordic Brain Network - provided a major contribution to the development and definition of the guidelines, given the expertise and experience in the field of risk and protective factors for dementia and AD.

Worldwide, nearly 50 million people are living with dementia. This number is expected to triple between 2015 and 2050 unless interventions are identified to prevent or delay onset, slow progression, or cure Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other disorders that cause dementia. The rapid rise in the number of people living with dementia has a considerable social and economic impact in many countries. There are currently no medicines able to stop or reverse the progression of dementia, and prevention has been highlighted as pivotal in halting the expected worldwide increase of AD and dementia cases.

Modifiable risk factors of dementia and AD include lifestyle-related factors (e.g., diet, physical activity), vascular and metabolic disorders (e.g., high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes), and psychosocial factors (e.g., mentally stimulating and social activities, depression), and it has been estimated that at least 30% of AD cases can be attributed to modifiable risk factors.

The proactive management of modifiable risk factors can delay or slow onset or progression of cognitive decline and dementia. These new WHO guidelines provide the knowledge base for health care providers, governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders to reduce the risks of cognitive decline and dementia through a public health approach, and strengthen the response to the dementia challenge.

About dementia:

Dementia is an umbrella term for several diseases affecting memory, other cognitive abilities and behaviour that interfere significantly with a person’s ability to maintain his/her activities of daily living. Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia is a major cause of disability and dependence among seniors and can have devastating effects for the lives of affected individuals, their careers and their families

More information on dementia https://www.who.int/mental_health/neurology/dementia/en/