Science News -- June 2, 2022 The American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 cardiovascular and brain health elements are: getting active, eating well, losing weight, avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy blood pressure,

regulating cholesterol, and lowering blood sugar.

The seven cardiovascular and brain health factors, known as the American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7, are: being active, eating better, losing weight, not smoking, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, controlling cholesterol, and reducing blood sugar.

The researchers studied 8,823 people of European heritage and 2,738 persons of African descent for 30 years. At the start of the trial, the average age of the participants was 54.

All seven health variables were reported by study participants. Total scores varied from 0 to 14, with 0 indicating the least healthy and 14 indicating the most healthy. The average score for those with European heritage was 8.3, while those with African ancestry received a 6.6.

"These healthy habits in the Life's Simple 7 have been linked to a lower risk of dementia overall, but it is uncertain whether the same applies to people with a high genetic risk," said study author Adrienne Tin, PhD, of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. "The good news is that even for people who are at the highest genetic risk, living by this same healthier lifestyle are likely to have a lower risk of dementia."

Researchers used genome-wide data of Alzheimer's disease to calculate genetic risk scores at the start of the trial, which have previously been used to investigate the genetic risk for dementia.

Based on genetic risk scores, participants of European ancestry were classified into five groups, whereas those of African heritage were divided into three groups. People having at least one copy of the APOE gene variant associated with Alzheimer's disease, APOE e4, had the highest hereditary risk. 27.9% of individuals with European ancestry had the APOE e4 mutation, while 40.4 percent of those with African heritage had the APOE e4 variant. The APOE e2 variation, which has been linked to a lower risk of dementia, was found in the group with the lowest risk.

At the conclusion of the trial, 1,603 persons of European heritage and 631 people of African descent had developed dementia.

Researchers discovered that adults of European ancestry who scored highest in lifestyle characteristics had a lower chance of dementia in all five genetic risk categories, including the group with the highest genetic risk of dementia. There was a 9% reduction in the risk of dementia for every one-point increase in the lifestyle component score. In people of European ancestry, the intermediate and high categories of the lifestyle factor score were linked to a 30% and 43% decreased risk of dementia, respectively, when compared to the low category. The moderate and high categories were linked to a 6 percent and 17 percent lower incidence of dementia, respectively, among people with African ancestry.

Researchers discovered a similar pattern of decreased dementia risk among adults of African ancestry in all three groups who had better scores on the lifestyle factors. However, because this group had a smaller number of participants, the conclusions were limited, and more research is needed, according to the researchers.

The study's sample size among people of African descent was smaller, and many African American participants were recruited from a single area, which constituted a drawback.

"Larger sample sizes from diverse populations are needed to get more reliable estimates of the effects of these modifiable health factors on dementia risk within different genetic risk groups and ancestral backgrounds," Tin said.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, as well as the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Human Genome Research Institute, all contributed to the research.

Wnctimes by Marjorie Farrington

Journal Reference:

Adrienne Tin, Jan Bressler, Jeannette Simino, Kevin J Sullivan, Hao Mei, B. Gwen Windham, Michael Griswold, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Eric Boerwinkle, Myriam Fornage, Tom H. Mosley. Genetic Risk, Midlife Life's Simple 7, and Incident Dementia in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Neurology, 2022; 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200520 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200520

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American Academy of Neurology. "Seven healthy habits linked to lower risk of dementia in those with genetic risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2022. .