Published: Wed, May 15, 2019
Medical | By

WHO issues guidelines to prevent dementia

WHO issues guidelines to prevent dementia

"As numerous risk factors for dementia are shared with those of non-communicable diseases, the key recommendations can be effectively integrated into programmes for tobacco cessation, cardiovascular disease risk reduction and nutrition".

New guidelines for preventing dementia focus on keeping the whole body healthy as a way to prevent mental decline. He highlighted the condition as a global health priority.

"The costs of caring for people with dementia are estimated to rise to two trillion US dollars annually by 2030", the organisation said.

Today, around 50 million people globally suffer from dementia and there are almost 10 million new cases every year. The report said that although age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural or inevitable effect of ageing.


Much of the WHO's advice is common sense, and echoes what the US National Institute on Aging says.

"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. But they take a firm stance against vitamin B or E pills, fish oil or multi-complex supplements that are promoted for brain health because there's strong research showing they don't work.

"Dementia carers are very often family members who need to make considerable adjustments to their family and professional lives to care for their loved ones", said Devora Kestel, director of the department of mental health and substance abuse at WHO.

Carol Routledge, director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said dementia was the leading cause of death in Britain, but only 34 per cent of adults realised they could reduce the risk, and the World Health Organization report helped to clarify what was known and where evidence was lacking. Hearing aids also may not reduce dementia risk, but older people should be screened for hearing loss and treated accordingly.

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