Health Advice



Good news on dodging dementia, even with a genetic risk

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

The idea of the positive power of the number seven is found around the world: There are seven heavens in Islam and Judaism. In Confucianism, seven expresses the harmonious relationship between yin, yang and the five elements. In Hinduism, there are seven higher worlds. The newborn Buddha takes seven steps. Now, you can add Life's Simple 7 to that list. It's also a path to enlightenment, since it protects your brain from dementia.

A study in JAMA Neurology found that following the American Heart Association's "Life's Simple 7" guidelines dramatically reduces the chance of developing cognition problems, even for folks with a high genetic risk for dementia. High risk comes when you have one or more copies of a gene called APOE4, a variant of apolipoprotein, which encodes proteins carrying cholesterol around the brain and interferes with waste removal from the brain.

The Simple 7? Manage blood pressure; control cholesterol; reduce blood sugar; get active; eat better; lose weight; stop smoking.

The study tracked 11,561 folks, mean age 54, for 30 years and found that adopting those behaviors in midlife offers the best protection. It's not as hard as it might sound: If you eat better, get active and lose weight, chances are you'll also control cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce blood sugar levels.

For tips on how to do that, check out my books, "This is YOUR Do-Over," "What to Eat When" and "The What to Eat When Cookbook." These have info on nutrition, building an exercise program and quitting smoking.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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