n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Neurological ageing factors : neurobiology of ageing and prevention of dementia : main article

Volume 23, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Our current population of elderly is steadily increasing as is the population's life expectancy (longevity), although not necessarily the healthy life expectancy (years lived without disability). <br>Life-span studies suggest that heritability accounts for less than 35% of variance in human survival duration. <br>Therefore 'genetic' theories and 'environmental' theories of ageing are interlinked and may be regarded as comprising different aspects of the same phenomenon. <br>The genetic theories hypothesise ageing as the consequence of somatic mutations, multiple genetic errors and programmed cell death, while environmental theories focus on oxidative stress resulting from microvascular pathology (especially in the brain) and lifestyle. <br>Cardiovascular risk factors are paramount in the production of atherosclerosis which determines the degree of disability and the expression of dementia. <br>Lifestyle changes concentrating on cardiovascular risk factors are recognised as delaying the onset and severity of dementias such as Alzheimer's disease as well as reducing disability.

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