Living Reference Work Entry

Mental Health and Illness of the Elderly

Part of the series Mental Health and Illness Worldwide pp 1-26

Date: Latest Version

Prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and Alzheimer's Dementia

  • Tom C. RussAffiliated withCentre for Dementia Prevention, University of EdinburghAlzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of EdinburghCentre for Cognitive Ageing & Cognitive Epidemiology, University of EdinburghDivision of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh Email author 
  • , Craig W. RitchieAffiliated withCentre for Dementia Prevention, University of EdinburghDivision of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh
  • , Karen RitchieAffiliated withCentre for Dementia Prevention, University of EdinburghINSERMUniversity of Montpellier


This chapter will consider the prevention of dementia. The often neglected distinction between Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s dementia (and the formal inclusion of this distinction in the 2011 diagnostic criteria) will form our main focus, and, in particular, the consequent relevance of the life course paradigm in epidemiology that influences from any stage of life could potentially increase or decrease one’s risk of dementia. We will consider a number of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (i.e., primary prevention) including early life factors, intelligence and education, proxies for early life factors, midlife risk factors, multiple risk factors, and environmental factors. In considering prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia (i.e., secondary prevention), we will consider the relevance of the theory of cognitive or brain reserve. We will briefly consider attempts at disease modification in dementia (i.e., tertiary prevention) and the multiple trial failures seen in recent decades. After outlining the policy context, we will consider two important prevention initiatives: the PREVENT program and the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) project.


Prevention Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s dementia Delirium Depression