Healthy Lifestyle Lowers Memory Decline, Even for Those With Genetic Risk

Slower memory decline in older adults is associated with a healthy lifestyle.

HealthDay News — A healthy lifestyle is associated with slower memory decline in older adults, even in the presence of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, according to a study published online Jan. 25 in The BMJ.

Jianping Jia, M.D., Ph.D., from the National Center for Neurological Disorders and Capital Medical University in Beijing, and colleagues sought to identify an optimal lifestyle profile (based on six healthy lifestyle factors) to protect against memory loss in older individuals. The analysis included 29,072 participants who had APOE genotyping at baseline in 2009 and were followed for 10 years.

The researchers found that participants in the favorable lifestyle group had slower memory decline than those in the unfavorable group (by 0.028 points/year). APOE ε4 carriers with favorable (0.027) and average (0.014) lifestyles showed slower memory decline than those with unfavorable lifestyles. Results were similar for people who were not APOE ε4 carriers. There was not a significant interaction between APOE ε4 status and lifestyle profiles on memory decline.

“A combination of positive healthy behaviors is associated with a slower rate of memory decline in cognitively normal older adults, including in people with the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele,” the authors write. “These results might offer important information for public health initiatives to protect older adults against memory decline.”

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