Public Perception of Dementia Risk and Risk Reduction

By November 21, 2019Commentary, Community Events

Contributed by Chelsea Cox, MPH, MSW, Associate Director of Education

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed survey responses from over 1,000 adults age 50 to 64 to learn about their perceived risk for developing dementia and any actions they take to reduce their own risk. The study found that more than half of respondents believed they were not likely to develop dementia, with this outlook being more common in non-Hispanic blacks who are, in fact, at a greater risk of developing dementia than non-Hispanic whites. The vast majority of respondents reported having never discussed risk reduction strategies with a doctor, while about a third of respondents endorsed the use of fish oils or other unproven (or proven ineffective) supplements for the prevention of dementia.

These findings reaffirm the importance of outreach and education to increase public knowledge and awareness of dementia and risk reduction. Though age and genetics play large roles in the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, there are lifestyle strategies every person can adopt to lower risk. These strategies include working with a health professional to control conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep problems, exercising regularly, eating a healthy well-balanced diet, and engaging in regular social and cognitive stimulation.

To learn more about brain health and dementia research, consider attending an upcoming lecture by a UCI MIND researcher, tuning in to our Facebook LIVE series @UCIrvineMIND, or watching educational videos on our YouTube channel. For questions about outreach and education or to request a UCI MIND presentation, please call (949) 824-9896 or email cgcox@uci.edu.