As the average life span becomes longer, dementia becomes more common. Swedish scientist Laura Fratiglioni has shown that everyone can minimise his or her risk of being affected. Factors from blood pressure and weight to the degree of physical and mental activity can influence cognitive functioning as one gets older.
Laura Fratiglioni's research group at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, is a leader in identifying the risk factors that lie behind developing dementia and using this knowledge to develop possible preventative strategies. The group's research has shown that the risk is partly determined by an individual genetic susceptibility, and that active involvement in mental, physical and social activities can delay the onset of dementia by preserving cognitive functions.
Further education early in life has a protective effect, and the group's research has shown that it is never too late to get started.