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Age and genetics are the two greatest known factors contributing to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but new research  is showing there may be some other surprising indicators.

“Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk for dementia,” said Kenneth Rockwood, M.D., of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, author of the study.

The study appears in the July 13 edition of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Rockwood, along with other researchers from Dalhouise University in Nova Scotia, Canada followed over 7,000 people, 65 years and older and cognitively healthy. They evaluated them at the five-year mark and then again at 10 years for signs of dementia.

Instead of looking just at the brain,  Rockwood and his team look beyond.  “We wondered, what if we were to use only factors that are not known to be bad for the brain, but just bad in general?” he said.

Researchers evaluated the group based on an index that included 19 different health deficits frequently associated with aging. Some of these factors included arthritis, hearing problems, eyesight issues and denture fit. The higher the participant’s score,  the less the healthy he or she was. It was the first time an evaluation of dementia using non-cognitive factors has ever been done. … Read More