Research, Studies, Clinical Trials & Dementia Prevention

An increasing amount of research is being directed at finding ways to prevent dementia. But even a treatment that simply delays the onset of dementia would represent an important step forward.

Potential strategies for preventing or delaying dementia focus heavily on reducing cardiovascular risk factors but include other brain-protective lifestyle measures as well. The list includes:

  • lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
  • raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • lowering blood pressure
  • quitting smoking
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • preventing or controlling diabetes
  • consuming foods rich in antioxidants
  • getting regular exercise
  • staying mentally active
  • controlling stress
  • drinking alcohol only in moderation
  • replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats
  • getting adequate amounts of B vitamins

Most research on prevention is based on observational studies. This type of study typically examines the health habits of large groups of people over time to identify possible associations between certain behaviors and a particular health condition.

Unlike randomized clinical trials, which test and compare interventions on randomly chosen groups of people, observational studies can only show apparent relationships between two variables, not prove that one caused the other.

These prevention strategies have not been proven in randomized trials to prevent or delay the onset of dementia. But most are sound strategies for improving your overall health and may turn out to have cognitive benefits.

Publication Review By: Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.

Published: 07 Mar 2011

Last Modified: 01 Dec 2014