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Chronic diseases linked to higher dementia risk

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New York: Higher the number of chronic conditions you are having, greater could be your risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, suggests a new study.

The findings suggest that preventing chronic diseases may help ageing adults maintain their mental health.

The researchers assessed 2,176 cognitively normal participants who were in an average age of 78.5 years and were followed for a median of four years.

Participants with more than one chronic condition were 38 percent more likely to develop MCI/dementia.

Participants with four or more conditions had a 61 percent increased risk compared with those with no chronic condition or just one such condition.

“We were not able to investigate the specific mechanisms by which multimorbidity contributes to cognitive impairment,” said senior author of the study Rosebud Roberts from Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, US.

“However our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that multiple etiologies may contribute to late-life cognitive decline and thus emphasize the importance of prevention,” she said.

“They also emphasise that chronic diseases, once diagnosed, should be efficiently managed,” Roberts noted.

The study appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.