Experts have linked factors such as limited access to healthy food, low levels of education and pollution to the health of the brain, noting those who reside in wealthier areas are less at risk of dementia than people living in less well-off locations.
In the study, researchers analysed two speech samples, taken two years apart, from 264 participants.
Detection of dementia at the earliest stages has become a worldwide health priority because drug treatments, prevention strategies and other interventions will likely be more effective very early in the disease process, before extensive brain damage has occurred. The content of their speech was less specific, with a higher use of pronouns like "she", "it", and "them".
Research results reported today (Monday 17 July 2017) at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 have provided clues about associations between cognitive status in older people and several behaviour and lifestyle factors, including verbal skill.
GETTYDementia symptoms Confused speech could be a sign
However, the declines detected in verbal fluency are "extremely subtle" and are essentially "compensation behavior", said Mueller, so family members may not at this point notice changes in everyday speech.
"This study suggests that subtle changes in speech could be an early indicator of memory and thinking decline, but it didn't look at whether people who experience these changes go on to be diagnosed with dementia".
"We all have difficulty finding the right word at times, but if you are concerned that you or someone you know is having increasing problems with speech, contact your GP for more advice".
"[Today] we confirm everything that we've known, that changing your dietary pattern is actually quite impactful and you can change your trajectory of cognitive decline-if you adhere to a Mediterranean diet or other diets that are low in saturated fats, processed flour and sugar,"Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer's Association (ALZ) tells FOX Business". Until now, it was unknown whether elective hospitalisations, such as scheduled surgery, put older individuals at the same risk of faster cognitive decline as emergency or urgent admissions. Bryan James, an epidemiologist with the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center, found that non-elective hospitalizations - that is, hospitalizations in emergency or urgent situations - are associated with an approximately 60 percent acceleration in the rate of cognitive decline from before hospitalization. "While recognizing that all medical procedures carry some degree of risk, this study implies that planned hospital encounters may not be as unsafe to the cognitive health of older persons as emergency or urgent situations".