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Predictors of early-onset cognitive impairment

Rosebud O. Roberts, Ronald C. Petersen
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awu089 1280-1281 First published online: 25 April 2014

Dementia is a major global health crisis with an estimated 35 million people diagnosed at present, and that number is projected to triple by 2050. Many more suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is recognized as a precursor for many types of dementia (Petersen et al., 2014). At the recent G8 Summit in London, health ministers from participating countries discussed dementia and its treatment and prevention (Fox and Petersen, 2013), and issued a communiqué calling for increased research into the mechanisms of disease, and increased efforts targeted at prevention (G8 Summit, 2013). To that end, the identification of lifestyle factors that may contribute to the development of dementia is crucial. In the current issue of Brain, Nyberg and colleagues present data from a longitudinal study in which they reveal the contribution of two such factors—early cardiovascular fitness and cognitive fitness—to the risk of early-onset dementia and MCI (Nyberg et al., 2014).

Longitudinal studies such as these are much needed. In 2010, an NIH ‘State of the Science’ report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the use of pharmaceutical agents, dietary supplements or other means for the prevention of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease (NIH State-of-the-Science, 2010). Having reviewed the literature, attendees at the conference concluded that the appropriate longitudinal studies had not been conducted to validate any interventions. Of note, studies that …

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