Background: Numerous population-based longitudinal studies suggest an association between modifiable lifestyle factors and late-life dementia. A comprehensive description of these factors and their quantification criteria is an important preliminary step toward the elucidation of causes and mechanisms underlying the onset and progression of dementia. Objective: To present a systematic review of modifiable lifestyle factors associated with dementia risk in longitudinal observational cohort-studies. Methods: A systematic review of original articles, published in English until December 2013, listed in four electronic databases (including PubMed, MEDLINE, PsycINFO) was conducted. Results: 75 papers from 33 epidemiologic studies met the inclusion criteria. Included papers focused on dietary habits (n = 26), leisure activities (social, physical, mental) (n = 23), beverages (juice, tea, coffee, alcohol) (n = 15), smoking (n = 13), social network (n = 6), and combined lifestyle factors (n = 2). Conclusions: Broad consensus emerged on the protective role against dementia of leisure activities. Conflicting results were found for the association between dementia and putative risk factors (smoking) and protective factors (mild-to-moderate alcohol consumption, dietary antioxidants, Mediterranean diet, and living with others). However, studies varied largely in the quantification of lifestyle factors in terms of intensity, frequency and duration of exposure, and in the choice of confounders in statistical analyses. The need for standardized quantification criteria emerges, together with the current limitation in reliably tracking the past history of each patient, from childhood and young adulthood to midlife.

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Journal of Alzheimer's Disease
Department of Epidemiology

Di Marco, L. Y., Marzo, A., Muñoz-Ruiz, M., Ikram, A., Kivipelto, M., Ruefenacht, D., … Frangi, A. (2014). Modifiable Lifestyle Factors in Dementia: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Observational Cohort Studies. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (Vol. 42, pp. 119–135). doi:10.3233/JAD-132225