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Preventing Dementia: AN UPDATE by Lydia T. Manahan, PhD, RN

Everyone wishes not to have dementia.  This might be quite possible because risk factors of dementia consist of non-modifiable and modifiable factors.  Among the non-modifiable factors are genes and old age.  Age is the strongest non-modifiable factor.  With the increasing life span of Filipinos, we cannot say that we can totally eradicate dementia but we might be able to reduce the risk of having dementia or delaying the occurrence of dementia if ever we have the two non-modifiable factors.

Past and recent studies showed that improving health earlier in life reduce the risk factors for dementia. Prof. Carol Brayne, Director of Cambridge Institute of Health had summarized how to keep our brain healthy and thus prevent if not delay the onset of dementia.

There are seven major factors that are confidently linked to risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  These are:

  • Diabetes
  • Midlife hypertension
  • Midlife obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Low educational attainment

A more recent review added:

  • Hearing loss
  • Social isolation

Majority of the above are modifiable and good healthy lifestyle will prevent majority of the above factors.


Reminder, there are some literature saying coffee and turmeric can prevent dementia.  These two have medicinal values but we still lack strong scientific evidence to prove that it can really prevent dementia.  In fact we are forewarned that excessive intake of the two might not be good for our health.

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On June 5, 2002 the Dementia Study Group was formed with the objective of conducting monthly scientific meetings on issues concerning cognitive impairment and dementia.