A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry argues that people who are shorter have a higher risk of developing dementia — an increased risk that is particularly found in men. According to the study’s author, being short does not cause dementia, but how tall a person is could impact possible risk factors for dementia.
Commenting on these findings, Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said in a press release: “The data suggests that very short people are at increased risk of dying with dementia. While the study was robust and detailed, because a very small number of people actually had dementia when they died it is very difficult to conclude that height is one of the most important risk factors for dementia.”
He went on to note that future research into dementia needs to determine which factors that contribute to a person’s height are important to focus on – whether they are related to childhood nutrition or genetic inheritance – and use that information to help scientists understand more about how dementia develops.
“Once fully grown there is nothing we can do to change our height, however we do know that we may be able to reduce our risk of dementia by making changes to our lifestyle,” he said. “Not smoking, taking regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are all things that could improve our brain health.”
Lifestyle and environmental factors continue to be shown to play a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Another recent study proved that walnuts can be extremely beneficial to brain-health. This study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and explains how walnuts can have positive effects against Alzheimer’s disease. The high antioxidant portion existing in walnuts protects the brain; also, the vitamins, minerals and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) can significantly affect our brain health in a positive way.
Regarding dementia and other brain diseases, researchers continue to stress the importance of prevention and the early diagnosis. Another recent study shows that a 5-minute brain scan can indicate risks of dementia through the amount of blood flow and oxygenation that the brain receives.
There is no known cure for these conditions, but scientists are beginning to make progress to better understand them. They emphasize how important it is to prevent and reduce risks with healthy lifestyle habits.