Aging, lifestyle and dementia

Aging is the greatest risk factor for most diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and neurodegenerative disease. Several interventions can improve metabolic health with emerging evidence suggesting that these may also be effective for brain health. The most robust interventions are non-pharmacological and include limiting calorie or protein intake, aerobic exercise, or environmental enrichment. In humans, dietary patterns including the Mediterranean, Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) and Okinawan diets are associated with improved age-related health and may reduce neurodegenerative disease including dementia. Rapamycin, metformin and resveratrol act on nutrient sensing pathways and improve cardiometabolic health and decrease the risk for age-associated disease.

There is some evidence that they may reduce the risk for dementia in rodents. There is a growing recognition that improving metabolic function may be an effective way to optimize brain health during aging.

Highlights

• Aging is the greatest risk factor for most chronic diseases, including dementia.
• Suboptimal cardiometabolic health is associated with risk of dementia.
• Lifestyle and nutrition patterns influence aging and age-related cardiometabolic health.
• Interventions that impact aging may also influence brain aging.