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WHO guidelines seek to reduce risk of dementia

WHO guidelines seek to reduce risk of dementia

PanARMENIAN.Net - There's no effective treatment for dementia, which affects 50 million people worldwide, but the World Health Organization says there's much can be done to delay or slow the onset and progression of the disease.

In guidelines released Tuesday, May 14, WHO issued its first recommendations to reduce the risk of dementia globally. They include regular physical exercise, not using tobacco, drinking less alcohol, maintaining healthy blood pressure and eating a healthy diet -- particularly a Mediterranean one, CNN reports.

The international health body also warned against taking dietary supplements such as vitamins B and E in an effort to combat cognitive decline and dementia.

"While some people are unlucky and inherit a combination of genes that makes it highly likely they will develop dementia, many people have the opportunity to substantially reduce their risk by living a healthy lifestyle," professor Tara Spires-Jones, UK Dementia Research Institute program lead and deputy director of the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, told the Science Media Center.

"The WHO has looked at the available evidence and made recommendations that some lifestyle changes, in particular increasing exercise before any cognitive symptoms are present, can reduce dementia risk," she added.

"Other recommendations have a less strong evidence base but may have evidence that they do not increase risk or harm and can therefore be recommended safely, although their impact on risk is less certain."

WHO said there are 10 million new cases of dementia every year, and this figure is set to triple by 2050. The disease is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people and "can devastate the lives of affected individuals, their carers and families," the organization said.

The disease also exacts a heavy economic toll, with the cost of caring for people with dementia estimated to rise to $2 trillion annually by 2030, according to WHO.

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