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PODCAST: Jay Ingram talks about Alzheimer’s and how we can reduce our risk

TODAY IN B.C.: 62,000 people in B.C. are living with dementia

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Host Peter McCully chats with Jay Ingram, science broadcaster and author and long-time co-host of the Discovery Channel’s science show, Daily Planet.

Ingram has written seventeen books, three of which have won Canadian Science Writers’ Awards and several have been on the bestseller list, including ‘The End of Memory’, a book on aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

As the spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ingram is hoping to educate British Columbians and Canadians about dementia risk factors.

‘I think the most reliable numbers are that from 2019 is that 62,000 people living with dementia in British Columbia. 12,000 of those had been diagnosed in the previous year, which sounds like a lot, right? It’s 20% of the total. But that shouldn’t be surprising because every province in the country has an aging population, and the biggest risk factor, the one that you really can’t do anything about is age,’ says Ingram.

There is no cure for dementia and some risk factors are non-modifiable however, several studies suggest that applying healthy lifestyle behaviors and modifying certain risk factors can lower the risks of developing dementia, including delaying the onset of symptoms.

Ingram tells ‘Today in B.C.’ host Peter McCully that ‘If we’re able to delay the onset by, let’s say five years by addressing all of these risk factors, that’s five years of a better life, a fuller life, let’s say for patients living with dementia, that’s five years. Less stress on caregivers, and that’s five years less impact on the healthcare system. Delaying is a great goal. Preventing would be even better. Treatment would be probably even better than that. But let’s take the opportunities we have right now.’

It is estimated that 12 risk factors could explain 40% of cases of dementia globally. Ingram talks about the these modifiable risk factors that include low education, hearing loss, depression and social isolation.

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