The review of academic studies and data reveals that about 76 percent of cognitive decline, changes in thinking skills with age including memory loss and speed of thinking is accounted for by lifestyle and other environmental factors including level of education, Xinhua reported.

The analysis suggests that there are five 'simple and effective' steps people can take to maintain brain health and reduce their risk of developing dementia.

The lifestyle factors could decrease the risk of developing dementia, which included regular physical exercise, eating a healthy diet, not smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation.

In addition, preventing and treating diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity were also found to reduce the risk of dementia.

One large British study carried out over 30 years found that men aged between 45 and 59 who followed four to five of the identified lifestyle factors were found to have a 36 percent lower risk of developing cognitive decline and a 36 percent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.

Age UK hopes the new evidence will spur people to make changes which will help them reduce the risk of developing dementia.   

"While there's still no cure or way to reverse dementia, this evidence shows that there are simple and effective ways to reduce our risk of developing it to begin with," Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said.

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