Chapter 4

Considering Causes and Risk Factors

In This Chapter

arrow Taking a whistle-stop tour of how your brain works

arrow Understanding how the brain malfunctions as a result of dementia

arrow Examining genetics and family background as risk factors

arrow Looking at lifestyle factors and reducing your risk

Prevention, everyone is told, is better than cure. And with dementia, for which no cure exists and the symptoms are so devastatingly awful, surely anything is worth trying in order to keep the disease at bay. Unfortunately, no one single thing that you can do or not do prevents dementia. The situation isn’t as simple as with some other conditions where you can say ‘wash your hands after going to the toilet and you’ll avoid getting diarrhoea’ or ‘don’t eat pie and chips every day and you won’t become obese’ or ‘have your vaccinations when you’re younger and you won’t get mumps’.

Doctors can’t put their fingers on a single trigger for dementia, which is perhaps not surprising given that it manifests itself in many different ways. Thankfully, however, some scientific evidence suggests that changing diet ...

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