Since the therapeutic options currently available have demonstrated limited efficacy, the search for preventive strategies for cognitive decline and dementia is mandatory. A possible role of vascular and lifestyle-related factors was recently proposed for age-related changes of cognitive function, predementia syndromes, and cognitive decline of degenerative (Alzheimer's disease, AD) or vascular origin. At present, cumulative evidence suggested that vascular risk factors may be important in the development of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia, and AD. Among vascular-related factors, metabolic syndrome has been associated with the risk of cognitive decline and overall dementia. Moderate alcohol drinking has been proposed as a protective factor against MCI and dementia in several longitudinal studies, but contrasting findings also exist. However, in most cases, these were only observational studies, and results are awaited from large multicenter randomized clinical trials in older persons. At present, vascular risk factor management, lifestyle changes, and drugs could be employed together to delay the onset of dementia syndromes.
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