3 Factors That Accelerate Brain Aging, Study Finds

Neurological diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise., and its development can be influenced by several factors. Researchers at the University of Oxford have identified three lifestyle elements that can accelerate brain aging and cognitive decline.

Research published in Natural communications, analyzed brain scans of more than 40,000 people over 45 years old. The focus was on how lifestyle and genetic factors influence certain areas of the brain that are vulnerable to aging and dementia.

The three main risk factors for accelerated brain aging are diabetes, traffic-related air pollution, and frequency of alcohol consumption.

Diabetes is a well-established risk factor for dementia, with previous studies indicating a significant increase in risk. Exposure to air pollution is also associated with an increased risk of dementia, and although it can be difficult to control, it is an aspect that we can work on as a society to reduce its impact. Excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing dementia, according to recent research, while reducing alcohol consumption is associated with a lower risk.

What’s remarkable about this study is how these factors affect specific areas of the brain, highlighting their importance in cognitive decline. Other modifiable factors studied include blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, smoking, depressed mood, inflammation, hearing, sleep, social patterns and relationships, diet, physical activity and educational level.

Although genetic factors also play a role, lifestyle choices may counteract some genetic predisposition to premature brain aging. To protect the brain and prevent dementia, suggested actions include increasing your fiber intake, purchasing an air purifier, limiting your alcohol intake, and getting more neuronutrients through diet or supplements.

While not all cases of dementia can be prevented through lifestyle changes, adopting healthy habits can provide protection and improve long-term brain health. @mundiario

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