At a glance, there are some seemingly curious inclusions on this list – most notably, hearing loss. The researchers argue that a lack of a rich, audible environment denies people a form of cognitive processing that many others have. This can also lead to increased social isolation and depression, all of which contribute towards the onset of dementia.
Other factors are more obvious, particularly educational level. Far from just stopping there, the 24 international experts behind the report explain that keeping up learning and education in later life will drastically reduce the risk of getting dementia.
Despite being left out of this analysis, it’s likely that excessive alcohol consumption and having an unhealthy diet also contribute towards a dementia diagnosis.
The report urges the world to “be ambitious about prevention”. Dementia does not have to be an “inevitable consequence of reaching retirement age.”
By 2050, around 150 million people could be living with dementia. Although “dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century,” the researchers explain that by considering these nine risk factors, this future could be avoided.
“Delaying dementia for some years for even a small percentage of people would be an enormous achievement and would enable many more people to reach the end of life without developing dementia,” they conclude.