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Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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The seven factors identified by experts are: being active, eating better, losing weight, not smoking, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and reducing blood sugar. Researchers followed more than 11,000 people for 30 years to assess how their lifestyles affected dementia rates. Dr Adrienne Tin, of the University of Mississippi Medical Centre, in the US, said: “These healthy habits have been linked to a lower risk of ­dementia overall.

“The good news is that even for people who are at the highest genetic risk, vermox or ovex living by this same healthier lifestyle is likely to have a lower risk of dementia.”

More than 900,000 people are believed to be living with dementia in the UK.

It is thought that up to 40 percent of cases could be prevented through healthier lifestyles.

The study included 8,823 people with European ancestry and 2,738 people with African ancestry.

Their lifestyle was scored on a scale from 0 to 14, with higher numbers indicating better health according to the seven habits. The average score was 8.3 for those with European ancestry and 6.6 among those with African ancestry.

Risk of dementia fell by nine percent for every one-point increase in lifestyle score.

The findings were published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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