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Wellbeing, Mind

Dementia Risk Reduction Programme

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Oxfordshire based, Public Health advisor, Sir Muir Gray launches the Dementia Risk Reduction Programme with Sport England on 4th July 2022. He hopes that this new campaign will widen awareness of the potential for prevention of this condition, the problem that people now fear most. The campaign is based on best current research which is summarised in the book, Increase Your Brainability and Reduce Your Risk of Dementia by Muir Gray, Larry Chambers and Charles Alessi, published by OUP.

Renowned for his establishment of the screening processes in the NHS, Muir is more recently the Founder of Live Longer Better, an initiative that helps adults in the UK age well and prevent diseases that typically occur in later life. The objective of the campaign will be to increase awareness of actions that are proven to prevent or delay dementia - all of which will also prevent and delay frailty and the need for social care.

“Normal brain ageing”, Muir says, “does not cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease remains a major challenge and more research is of vital importance but there are many other factors that cause dementia. The scientific evidence is now very strong that there are three methods for reducing the risk of dementia:

  • Keep the brain tissue healthy, by sleeping well, reducing stress and being physically active which directly stimulates brain cells
  • Keep the blood and oxygen supply optimal, just like reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Stimulate the brain by learning new skills and being even more involved in activities with purpose, work or voluntary because we now know about what is called neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to form new circuits, just like computer programmes, no matter how old you are.”

Over six months, Muir will launch a monthly podcast on the 4th of each month discussing the following:

1) What is happening as we live longer and the potential to increase brainability

2) What is dementia and how can it be delayed or prevented

3) Cherish and protect the brain tissue

4) Keep the blood and oxygen flowing

5) Stay engaged and purposeful

6) Start your revolution

The message will be delivered by networks involving all the relevant agencies and increasingly through general practice information systems, which can reach individuals

Dr Gray firmly believes that society as a whole will benefit from an increased healthy life expectancy or healthspan as well as individuals. People who are healthier and fitter and feel better, work longer and contribute to the economy. In addition, the need for health and social care is reduced by £45m per year per million population for every year of healthy life expectancy and we could achieve five extra years (£225 per year per million).

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