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Will you get dementia? Many may not understand their risk

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/15/2019 By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, an elderly couple walks down a hall in Easton, Pa. Research released on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 suggests many American adults inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) © Provided by The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, an elderly couple walks down a hall in Easton, Pa. Research released on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 suggests many American adults inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) New research suggests many American adults inaccurately estimate their chances for developing dementia and do useless things to prevent it.

A survey of 1,000 adults aged 50 to 64 found almost half believed they were likely to develop dementia, but suggests many didn’t understand the connection between physical health and brain health.

Video: 10 Facts About Dementia (Newsweek)

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Substantial numbers of people who rated their health as fair or poor thought their dementia chances were low. Many who said they were in excellent health said they were likely to develop the memory robbing disease.

Research has shown that exercise and a good diet make dementia less likely. Rigorous mental stimulation may also help. Many surveyed said they used unproven tactics, like taking supplements and doing crossword puzzles.

The study was published online Friday in JAMA Neurology.

Gallery: 40 habits to reduce your risk of dementia after 40 (Best Life)

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