Lifestyle Effects on Memory & Cognition

Latest news

  • A study found that physical fitness & arterial stiffness accounted for a third of the cognitive differences between older adults, completely erasing age as a factor.

An Australian study involving 102 older adults (60-90) has concluded that physical fitness and arterial stiffness account for a great deal of age-related memory decline.

  • A study found that older adults remembered names better after moderately intense exercise.
  • A large, long-running study found that each hour of light physical activity per week was linked to less brain atrophy.
  • Similarly, another long-running study reported that higher levels of lifestyle physical activity were associated with less brain atrophy.

Exercise activates brain networks in older adults

A study involving healthy older adults (55-85) found that recall was better after a session of moderately intense exercise, and several crucial brain regions showed greater activation.

  • A small study has shown that those who show the biggest brain benefits after a single exercise session also show the biggest long-term gains from a training program.

A small pilot study, in which participants had brain scans and

  • A mouse study has found that a hormone released during physical activity protects synapses in the hippocampus.
  • Another mouse study found that short bursts of exercise promotes an increase in synapses in the hippocampus.

How exercise may protect against Alzheimer's

  • A mouse study suggests that vitamin D deficiency impairs cognition through its effect on neuronal connections in the hippocampus.

A mouse study helps explain why vitamin D is so important for cognition. After 20 weeks of no vitamin D, the healthy adult mice showed a significant decline in their ability to remember and learn.

  • A very large Canadian study found that older adults with chronic insomnia performed significantly worse on cognitive tests.
  • A small study links older adults' increasing difficulties with consolidating memories to poorer synchronization of brainwaves during sleep.
  • A fruitful study shows that oxidative stress drives sleep, and that this is regulated by a specific molecule that monitors the degree of oxidative stress.

Chronic insomnia linked to memory problems

  • Adults whose sleep quality declined in their 40s and 50s had more amyloid-beta in their brains later in life, while those reporting poorer sleep in their 50s and 60s had more tau tangles.
  • Greater tau protein was associated with less synchronized brainwaves during sleep.
  • Both amyloid-beta and tau levels increase dramatically after a single night of sleep deprivation, suggesting good sleep helps remove these proteins.
  • A large study found that older adults who consistently slept more than nine hours every night had twice the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease within the next 10 years.
  • A large Japanese study found that those with sleep durations of less than 5 hours or more than 10 hours were more likely to develop dementia. However, those with short sleep could mitigate the effect with high physical activity.
  • A largish 12-year study found that poorer REM sleep was associated with an increased dementia risk.
  • Sleep apnea has been linked to higher levels of tau in the entorhinal cortex, poorer attention and memory, and slower processing speed.
  • Those with the APOE4 gene may be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of sleep apnea.

Disrupted sleep in one's 50s, 60s raises Alzheimer's risk

  • A large study has found that smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are each linked to more brain atrophy, and damage to white matter.
  • The more of these you have, the greater the shrinkage and damage.

Brain scans of 9,772 people aged 44 to 79, who were enrolled in the UK Biobank study, have revealed that smoking, high blood pressure, high pulse pressure, diabetes, and high BMI — but not high cholesterol — were all linked to greater brain shrinkage, less

  • A very large study shows that greater exposure to air pollution was linked to poorer cognitive performance in older adults, especially men and the less educated.

A large Chinese study involving 20,000 people has found that the longer people were exposed to air pollution, the worse their cognitive performance in verbal and math tests. The effect of air pollution on verbal tests became more pronounced with age, especially for men and the less educated.

  • A small study of young adults found that 10 minutes of light exercise improved memory for details and increased relevant brain activity.
  • Another study found that 15 minutes of more intense exercise after learning a new motor skill resulted in better skill performance a day later.

Ten minutes of light exercise boosts memory

Pages