THURSDAY, July 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Exercise, household-related activity, and social visits are associated with a reduced risk for dementia, according to a study published online July 27 in Neurology.

Jianwei Zhu, M.D., Ph.D., from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and colleagues examined the association between patterns of physical and mental activity and dementia in a prospective cohort study based on 501,376 dementia-free participants recruited in 2006 to 2010 and followed from one year after recruitment until the end of 2019. The modification role of disease susceptibility on these associations was examined in analyses stratified by polygenic risk score (PRS) of dementia, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, and self-reported family history of dementia.

The researchers identified 5,185 dementia cases during a mean follow-up of 10.66 years. Multiple studied items related to physical and mental activity were significantly associated with the risk for dementia. A higher level of adherence to activity patterns related to frequent vigorous and other exercises, household-related activity, and friend/family visits were associated with a lower risk for dementia (hazard ratios, 0.65, 0.79, and 0.85, respectively). Comparable results were obtained for vascular dementia and Alzheimer disease and in stratified analyses by PRS, APOE genotype, and family history of dementia.

“Our study has found that by engaging more frequently in healthy physical and mental activities people may reduce their risk of dementia,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our results are encouraging that making these simple lifestyle changes may be beneficial.”

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