Senior Brains Benefit from Physical Activity

Researchers with the Northern Manhattan Study have found that low levels of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) in seniors is an independent risk factor for declining cognitive performance compared to moderate to heavy intensity LTPA. More than 1200 participants were followed for 5 years. The data was adjusted for confounders, including vascular disease.  PositiveTip: It is never too…

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Alcohol Accelerates Cognitive Decline

Middle-aged men who drink 2.5 alcoholic drinks each day (36 grams of alcohol) are significantly more likely to experience cognitive decline in all areas, especially memory. This association for women was not as strong, but women who drink 19 grams or more of alcohol each day seem to experience faster declines in executive function. The…

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Older Danes Seem to be Getting Sharper

Good news for those getting older! A Danish cohort study has found that men and women born in 1915 were mentally sharper in 2010 (age 94 and 95) compared to those born in 1905 and assessed in 1998 (age 92 and 93). The 1915 cohort also had significantly better activities of daily living scores than did…

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Move It or Lose It

A recent study shows that the most active older adults are 2.3 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease (AD) during a 3.5 year follow-up than the least active group. In this study, a group of 716 people with an average age of 82 wore an actigraph for 10 continous days. This small sensor recorded…

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Omega-3 Supplements Do Little to Slow Cognitive Decline

A randomized trial gave either a placebo or 2 grams a day of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to about 400 adults with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer Disease (AD) for 18 months. At the end of treatment there was no difference between the groups, showing that these supplements did not slow the rate of cognitive decline. PositiveTip: DHA supplementation probably results in little improvement…

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Walking Frequently Increases Gray Matter

Almost 300 healthy adults aged 65 or older reported how much they walked per week. Nine years later they had MRI brain scans. Those who walked at least 72 blocks (estimated 6-9 miles) per week had more gray matter volume compared to those who walked less. Greater gray matter volume reduced the risk for cognitive…

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Ginkgo Fails to Prevent Cognitive Decline

Americans spend more than $250 million each year on the herbal supplement Ginkgo biloba with the hope it will improve their long-term cognitive function. The Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, the largest-ever clinical trial has reported that those taking 120 mg of ginkgo extract twice daily did no better than a placebo in slowing…

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Exercise and Diet Lower Risk of Dementia

Two recent observational studies found physical activity and a Mediterranean-type diet are associated with lower risks of cognitive decline in elders. The first was a US study of 2000 elders followed for five years. Close adherence to a Mediterranean-type diet and regular physical activity (even light activity like gardening) independently resulted in significantly less Alzheimer…

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Anxiety May Predict Later Dementia

How can one predict the development of dementia in later life? A new prospective study may shed some light on this question. Using a standardized anxiety inventory and later cognitive status in almost 1200 men followed for 17 years, researchers found that those with high anxiety levels at baseline were significantly more likely to develop…

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