2020 Fall GAPNA Newsletter Volume 39 Issue 3

Combination of Healthy Lifestyle Traits May Substantially Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

Data from two National Institutes of Health studies show 60% lower risk among those with highest number of healthy behaviors. Combining more healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with substantially lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease in a study that included data from nearly 3,000 research participants.

Those who adhered to four or all of the five specified healthy behaviors had a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s. The behaviors were physical activity, not smoking, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, a high-quality diet, and cognitive activities.

Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, this research was published in the June 17, 2020, online issue of Neurology.

The research team reviewed data from two NIA-funded longitudinal study populations: The Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) and the Memory and Aging Project (MAP). They selected participants from those studies who had data available on their diet, lifestyle factors, genetics, and clinical assessments for Alzheimer’s disease. The resulting data pool included 1,845 participants from CHAP and 920 from MAP.

NIA is currently funding more than 230 active clinical trials on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Of those, more than 100 are nondrug interventions, such as exercise, diet, cognitive training, sleep, or combination therapies. People interested in participating in clinical trials can find more information on the NIA Website.


Dhana, K., Evans, D.A., Rajan, K.B., Bennett, D.A., & Morris, M.C. (2020). Healthy lifestyle and the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia: Findings from two longitudinal studies. Neurology. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000009816