Dementia is very taxing on care-giver children. Many parents would rather die than burden their children and rob them of living their own life. I am one of the parents who hold this view strongly.

Is dementia determined by genes or are there some healthy lifestyle practices and diet that middle-aged people (above 40s) can adopt to prevent dementia?

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    ”If dementia is not determined by genes (is it?)” Are you making a statement that dementia is not genetic or are you asking? Apr 21, 2018 at 22:28
  • @Chris, I have removed that statement. I'm asking, not making a statement. I don't know enough to make any statement.
    – user781486
    Apr 24, 2018 at 10:32
  • 1
    I have added it back in with a less confusing way. If you prefer it back the other way feel free to remove it again Apr 24, 2018 at 12:20
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    @user781486, Do you want to narrow down the question from dementia to only one of its types: Alzheimer's disease? Otherwise this discussion will become way too broad.
    – Jan
    Apr 24, 2018 at 12:23
  • I have narrowed the question to Alzheimer's disease. Better narrow it to get some answer than too broad and get no answer at all. I presume healthy practices to prevent Alzheimer's would be similar to other forms of dementia.
    – user781486
    Apr 24, 2018 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


In short:

  • Alzheimer's disease (AD), in most cases, is not hereditary.
  • You can decrease the risk of having AD by maintaining healthy weight and regular physical activity.
  • There is insufficient evidence about the effectiveness of different nutrients, foods, diets or supplements in the prevention of AD.

According to Alzheimer's Society Canada, modifiable risk factors for AD include:

diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, depression, cognitive inactivity or low education, and physical inactivity.

Other risk factors can include: excessive alcohol drinking, high blood cholesterol levels, stroke and repeated head injuries.

Alzheimer disease and genetics:

Most Alzheimer’s disease does not run in families and is described as “sporadic”. Rare cases of Alzheimer’s disease are inherited or “familial’.

Diet. Various systematic reviews, like this one, mention the association (but not necessary the cause-effect relationship) between Mediterranean diet and lower risk of AD.

Cochrane has a long list of study reviews about the preventative effect of supplements, herbs and alternative treatments on AD; in most cases, there is no evidence of their effectiveness.

  • 1
    Good answer. But I might suggest refining the phrasing "probably not hereditary" which infers the disease itself probably does not have genetic components, to something more like "some cases are hereditary, but most cases are not" which infers there is a lot more to it than mere genes and no one is free of risk just because nobody in one's family has had it.
    – DoctorWhom
    Apr 24, 2018 at 19:58
  • 2
    I edited.........
    – Jan
    Apr 25, 2018 at 6:10

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