Brain damage that can lead to dementia visible early | 1Limburg

People who run the risk of developing dementia later on due to an unhealthy lifestyle often already have visible damage to the brain at a younger age.

Cognitive problems, such as forgetfulness and information processing, are also noticeable at an early stage.

This is shown by a study by Maastricht UMC+. The university hospital made brain scans and administered questionnaires to more than 4,000 people. According to the MUMC+, the results underline the importance of a good lifestyle to keep the brain healthy and prevent dementia.

“We already knew that people with an unhealthy lifestyle have a higher risk of dementia,” says researcher Sebastian Köhler. Diet, obesity, smoking and high blood pressure influence the development of dementia. “But our research now shows that the signs of dementia are actually already there.” These signs are visible when a participant scores poorly with the questionnaire. This is apparent from the study, in which the brain scans of people with a bad score were compared with scans of people with a good score. Think of shrinkage of the brain and injury to the brain vessels.

Köhler calls it bad, but also good news: “Because people can do something about those bad omens.”

Live a healthier life
According to the researcher, there is a lot of room to work on the lifestyle factors that increase the risk of dementia. For example, people over 55 with a high risk profile can reduce the threat of dementia by, for example, stopping smoking or eating healthier. “We expect that you can also prevent further damage to your brain and cognitive problems,” concludes Köhler. According to Köhler, healthier and more conscious living is important for the brain. “In the short and long term,” said the researcher.

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