World Health Organization issues new guidelines to fight dementia, mental decline

Smoking was found to be one of the biggest risk factors

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple", WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Tuesday press release.

If you want to save your brain, focus on keeping the rest of your body well with exercise and healthy habits rather than popping vitamin pills, new guidelines for preventing dementia advise.

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.

While age is the strongest known factor for decline, it is not an inevitable outcome of aging, the report found.

"The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain".

"While there is no curative treatment for dementia, the proactive management of modifiable risk factors can delay or slow onset or progression of the disease", Ren wrote. The study did not include environmental factors.

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They will also be useful to governments, policy makers and planning authorities as a guide in developing policy and designing programmes that encourage healthy lifestyles.

The WHO also recommends caring for the carers of those with declining cognitive functions.

"There is now no evidence to show that taking these supplements actually reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and in fact, we know that in high doses these can be harmful", said the WHO's Dr Neerja Chowdhary.

Dementia isn't just one disease, but a variety of conditions that produce similar symptoms, including memory loss and decreased cognitive abilities.

In Britain more than 800,000 people have dementia and the figure is rising across the world as the population ages, with 152 million people expected to...

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