Mentally fit for old age: What you can do to prevent dementia

Dementia affects many people in advanced age. A long-term study in Leipzig, which examined 1,265 seniors aged 75 and older in their home environment, came to the conclusion that five percent of the 75 to 79 year old seniors and even half of the over 90 year old persons suffer from some form of dementia. Even though Alzheimer's disease is considered the most common form of dementia, most of the elderly suffer from mixed forms, for which not only the changes typical for Alzheimer's but also vascular-related changes in the brain are responsible.

Dementia can affect anyone. There are many reasons. While dementia diseases were formerly regarded as diseases of the elderly, today the entire life cycle of those people affected is increasingly being considered. It is now known that dementia develops unveiled for decades.

Dementia is currently not curable. As a result, experts are particularly concerned with maintaining cognitive performance and preventing dementia. We now know that there are a number of risk and protective factors that we can influence. Most of the information on these factors comes from studies in which a large number of study participants were observed for a very long time - so-called cohort studies.

The good news: everyone can do something to strengthen his mental fitness. Dementia prevention should start early. What can you do?

Read the lecture ("Mentally fit for old age: what you can do to prevent dementia") by our award winner Prof. Dr. med. Steffi G. Riedel-Heller (PDF document, 3.3 MB)