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Healthy Habits and Dementia

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 11 December 2013

A new 35-year study has confirmed that adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia. It is the first study to look at the effect of lifestyle on clinically diagnosed dementia and researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine followed a large representative group of Welsh men for 35 years. They examined the impact that eating a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, keeping alcohol intake low, not smoking and maintaining a low bodyweight, had on the likelihood of the men developing dementia. And as medical epidemiologist Professor Peter Elwood tells Health Check, the results are quite dramatic.

Care Homes Abroad
This week the G8 group of industrialised countries is meeting in London for its first ever summit on dementia, to discuss a global plan for tackling the disease. Nearly 36 million people in the world live with dementia and the World Health Organisation estimates that this number will double every 20 years as the world’s population ages. For those caring for relatives with dementia, the challenges are immense. In a special report from Switzerland and Thailand, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes reports on the families that are finding help around the other side of the world.

Nuts and Mortality
It has been known for a while that nuts are good for you. But now a huge US study following people for 30 years, looking at what they die from and how often they eat nuts, has found that the people who ate them regularly were more likely to live longer. Dr Ying Bao is associate epidemiologist at Brigham Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in the USA.

Picture: Cross-sections of brains, one with Alzheimer’s disease vs normal brain, October 2013. Credit: Science Photo Library


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    Health Check

    The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.

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    Science Hour

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