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Mon, 25 January 2021

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By Baroness Young
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Quality of early-life education positively impacts dementia risk later in life - Alzheimer's Society responds

Alzheimer’s Society

2 min read Partner content

Risk factors for Alzheimer’s may be apparent as early as our teens and 20s, according to new research reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.

Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society responds to their study 'relationship between state-level administrative school quality data, years of education, cognitive decline, and dementia risk':

“We already know that higher levels of education is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia later in life. Here researchers remind us that it’s not just about the number of years in education, but the quality of education, such as student-teacher ratios, attendance rates and school term length may be important as well. The effect seems to vary between ethnicities and genders, so we need to see more rigorous research in a diverse range of groups to understand these variations.

“There are steps within our control that we can all take to reduce our risk of dementia, so although Joe Wicks’ PE lessons have ended, keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one factor that can help reduce risk. However, factors such as quality of education require a society change driven by Government policy.

“It is projected the pandemic could cause an over 40% fall in research investment from medical research charities this year and 90% of our researchers told us they were worried about the future of dementia research. This comes just when we desperately need greater investment for this chronically underfunded field to support high quality, in-depth research to help unpick these complex but vitally important risk factors of dementia. To do this, it’s critical the Government keeps its word and commits to doubling dementia research funding.

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