Every end has a beginning. Just like you don’t wake up one morning to heart failure, you don’t suddenly hit dementia. It’s a lifetime of rugged beating that leads to both.

As individuals and a society, we focus on heart health, bone health, cancer prevention… but we don’t often focus on building the strongest brains that we can have, and then maintaining them properly.

Yet if we can reduce dementia risk, we should. And our own research, along with science around the field, is showing that we probably can — and in several ways.

It’s very important to modify or treat the disease when it presents, of course, but we shouldn’t think we can’t do anything before that. When we talk about dementia as an end of-life disease, something that’s often missed is that it’s a journey — with a beginning, a growth, and an end.

This is a description of that path, and things we’ve learned along the way.