There's no effective treatment for dementia, which affects 50 million people worldwide, but the World Health Organization (WHO) says there's much that can be done to delay or slow the onset and progression of the disease.
In May, WHO issued the following recommendations to reduce the risk of dementia globally, and combat cognitive decline:
WHO said there are 10 million new cases of dementia every year, and this figure is set to triple by 2050. The disease is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people and "can devastate the lives of affected individuals, their careers and families," the organization said.
Although the report stressed that social participation and social support are strongly connected to good health and individual well-being, it said there was insufficient evidence linking social activity with a reduced of risk of dementia.
Experts said that the advice issued by WHO was comprehensive and sensible, but some cautioned that the evidence that these steps would reduce dementia risk was not always strong.
"Keep on doing the things that we know benefit overall physical and mental health, but understand that the evidence that these steps will reduce dementia risk is not strong," Robert Howard, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London, told the Science Media Center.
"Like many colleagues, I already tell my patients that what is good for their hearts is probably good for their brains."