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  • While handgrip strength has been linked to dementia risk in the elderly, a new study indicates that less impaired or fragile older adults need upper and lower body strength tests — but that these, too, are correlated with cognitive function.

A Finnish study involving 338 older adults (average age 66) has found that greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function.

  • A large study indicates that an inclination to dizziness on standing up is associated with a greater risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia decades later.

Data from over 11,500 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort has found evidence that orthostatic hypotension in middle age may increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia 20 years later.

  • A single instance of retrieval, right after learning, is enough to significantly improve your memory, and stop the usual steep forgetting curve for non-core information.

A study involving 60 undergraduate students confirms the value of even a single instance of retrieval practice in an everyday setting, and also confirms the value of cues for peripheral details, which are forgotten more readily.

  • The simple act of repeating something to another person helps you remember it, more than if you just repeated it to yourself.

A Canadian study involving French-speaking university students has found that repeating aloud, especially to another person, improves memory for words.

  • Brain scans of healthy young adults found that higher aerobic fitness was associated with greater hippocampal elasticity, which was a better predictor of cognitive performance than hippocampal volume.

A new MRI technique has revealed that it is the structural integrity of the

  • A comparison of non-interactive electronic books and their print counterparts has found that toddlers learned more from the electronic books, but this was accounted for by their greater attention and engagement.

A new issue for parents to stress over is the question of whether reading digital books with your toddler or preschooler is worse than reading traditional print books.

  • A review of research has confirmed the benefits of at least moderate exercise to fight age-related cognitive decline, with different benefits for aerobic exercise and strength training.

A review of 39 studies investigating the effect of exercise on cognition in older adults (50+) confirms that physical exercise does indeed improve cognitive function in the over 50s, regardless of their cognitive status.

  • A review of research has concluded that even a single bout of physical activity can have significant positive effects on people's mood and cognitive functions.

An extensive review of research looking at the effects of a single bout of exercise has concluded that:

  • When a particular fat molecule in the brain doesn't break down properly, cognition gets harder, and there's an increase in amyloid precursor proteins (which are part of the Alzheimer's cascade).
  • Tau proteins are also involved in the Alzheimer's cascade. A new study shows that individuals vary markedly in how quickly they spread in the brain.
  • A protein called SIRT6 has now been found to be crucially involved in DNA repair, to be severely deficient in those with Alzheimer's, and to be associated with learning impairment in mice.
  • A protein called NPTX2 may explain why some brains can cope with high levels of amyloid-beta much better than others.

Disrupted fat breakdown in the brain involved in Alzheimer’s?

  • A cognitive test has been shown to identify early shrinking of the brain region first affected by Alzheimer's.

A Canadian study involving 40 older adults (59-81), none of whom were aware of any major memory problems, has found that those scoring below 26 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) dementia screening test also showed shrinking of the anterolateral

  • Regular exercise has been found to reduce brain shrinkage in those with mild cognitive impairment.

A study involving 35 adults with

  • A small study found that low-intensity exercise significantly boosted activation in the visual cortex above what occurred during rest or high-intensity exercise.

A study involving 18 volunteers who performed a simple orientation discrimination while on a stationary bicycle, has found that low-intensity exercise boosted activation in the visual cortex, compared with activation levels when at rest or during high-intensity exercise.

  • A new estimation technique has raised the dementia rates for Australian women from 20% to 26%.

In Australia, it has beens estimated that 9% of people aged over 65, and 30% of those aged over 85 have dementia. However, these estimates are largely based on older data from other countries, or small local samples.

  • It seems clear now that a substantial decline in sense of smell is a very early sign of developing MCI and Alzheimer's.
  • Several tests have been developed to assess this.
  • It should always be remembered that there is substantial difference between individuals in their 'natural' sense of smell, and this needs to be taken into account in any test.

In the past few months, several studies have come out showing the value of three different tests of people's sense of smell for improving the accuracy of

  • An animal study shows that following learning with a novel experience makes the learning stronger.
  • A human study shows that giving information positive associations improves your memory for future experiences with similar information.

We know that the

  • Brain scans of children with sleep apnea have found extensive reductions in gray matter.
  • Recordings of brain activity show that children's brains respond to sleep deprivation differently than adults’ brains do, and that this is linked to myelination of nerves in a specific area.
  • Sleep assessment from birth to age 7 has found that children getting less than the recommended levels of sleep at age 3 and after, were more likely to have cognitive and behavioral problems at age 7.

Untreated sleep apnea in children shrinks brain & may slow development

Brain scans of children who have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea have found significant reductions of gray matter across the brain.

  • Rambling and long-winded explanations may be an early sign of mild cognitive impairment. The problem is not the increase in verbosity, however, but a growing inability to be precise.

A study comparing the language abilities of 22 healthy young individuals, 24 healthy older individuals and 22 people with

  • The largest study to date of chemo-brain shows that 45% of women with breast cancer report it's a substantial problem for months after chemotherapy.
  • A rat study suggests an effect of chemotherapy on dopamine and serotonin may be partly responsible.
  • Better cognitive function, and improved mood, are linked to frequent moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise among breast cancer survivors.
  • A new cognitive-behavioral treatment program has been trialed with positive results.

Chemo-brain common among women with breast cancer

  • A Greek pilot study has shown that a self-administered cognitive training game can detect mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Following on from a previous study showing that such a virtual supermarket game administered by a trained professional can detect

  • A large study adds to evidence that caffeine helps older women fight cognitive impairment and dementia.
  • This is supported by two animal studies showing precisely how caffeine is valuable for keeping the brain healthy.

Data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, involving 6,467 postmenopausal women (65+) who reported some level of caffeine consumption, has found that those who consumed above average amounts of coffee had a lower risk of developing dementia.

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