Research being published at the international conference of the Alzheimer’s Association in Toronto is looking at the links between complex thinking and the onset of the disease.

They suggest that people who have had mentally stimulating jobs and had to deal with complex thinking such as doctors, lawyers, scientists and social workers were less likely to get the disease than people in occupations such as machine operatives, shelf stackers and labourers. For some reason in middle age it is believed that white spots which can form on the brain and later develop into Alzheimer’s are reduced by complex thinking.

In a second study Baycrest Health Sciences found that people with a western diet of red meat, white bread, potato, and sweets were more likely to witness cognitive decline. Mario Carrillo the chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association stated: “We currently look towards medical breakthroughs but it may be more important to look at healthy lifestyles to reduce the possibility of getting the disease.”

Mark Booker the owner of Independent Living commented: “In relation to occupation we have not noticed any trends for dementia. We care for people with Alzheimer’s who were accountants, business owners and doctors, yet we also have people who had a manual occupation, it seems this illness can affect anyone, the main link as you would expect is that as people get older they are more likely to get the disease. We are also finding that people with Parkinson’s may experience memory related issues in addition to their usual symptoms.”

Mark goes on to say: “I think as a society we are becoming more careful about our lifestyle, more people exercise, watch their diet and weight, and smoking seems to be declining. Perhaps in the future this will feed through to fewer Alzheimer’s cases. However, even though people today may suffer dementia, care services from companies like Independent Living means people can still get out and about, be cared for at home and have a good quality of life.”