A joint research study by the University of Exeter and Maastricht University reported identifying approximately one dozen factors that contribute to early-onset dementia.
Study findings were published in JAMA Neurology last month.
The Daily Wire reported the large-scale study involved more than 356,052 participants.
The study referenced data from the U.K. Biobank to analyze data from the approximately four million people who suffer from early-onset dementia, often referred to as “young-onset dementia (YOD).
The study found the following factors contribute to or correlate with YOD:
- Lower formal education
- Lower socioeconomic status
- Carrying 2 apolipoprotein ε4 allele, which is considered to be the strongest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- No alcohol use
- Alcohol use disorder
- Social isolation
- Vitamin D deficiency
- High C-reactive protein levels
- Lower handgrip strength
- Hearing impairment
- Orthostatic hypotension
- Heart disease
The study’s lead author, Dr. Stevie Hendricks from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, shared with CNN that the findings are significant.
“[This] changes our understanding of young-onset dementia, challenging the notion that genetics are the sole cause of the condition and highlighting that a range of risk factors may be important,” he said.
Hendricks added: “In addition to physical factors, mental health also plays an important role, including avoiding chronic stress, loneliness and depression,” he added. “The fact that this is also evident in young-onset dementia came as a surprise to us, and it may offer opportunities to reduce risk in this group too.”
Hendricks emphasized in an interview with Fox News: “This study shows that there is a wide range of risk factors for young-onset dementia. While some of them are genetic, others can be controlled through lifestyle changes.
Dr. Richard Isaacson, the director of research at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Florida, told CNN he believes the study shows that people can “fight against early onset cognitive decline.”
“My clinical experience much more closely aligns with results of this new study — that it truly may be possible to grab the bull by the horns, and be proactive about certain lifestyle and other health factors, to reduce risk,” Isaacson said.
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