Moving more in old age may protect brain from dementia

  • A long-running study found older adults who moved more were less likely to develop dementia, even when they had brain pathologies characteristic of dementia.

A long-running study involving 454 older adults who were given physical exams and cognitive tests every year for 20 years has found that those who moved more than average maintained more of their cognitive skills than people who were less active than average, even if they have brain lesions or biomarkers linked to dementia.

Participants wore an activity monitor for a week, an average of two years before death. The range of physical activity was extreme, with the average being 155,000 counts/day and the standard deviation being 116,000 counts. Daily physical activity was affected by age (unsurprisingly) and education.

For every increase in physical activity by one standard deviation, participants were 31% less likely to develop dementia. For every increase in motor ability by one standard deviation, participants were 55% less likely to develop dementia.

191 had dementia and 263 did not. The participants donated their brains for research upon their deaths. The average age at death was 91 years. Almost all (95.6%) showed at least one brain pathology, with 85% having at least two, and the average being three. Pathologies include Alzheimer's pathology, Lewy Bodies, nigral neuronal loss, TDP-43, hippocampal sclerosis, micro- and macro-infarcts, atherosclerosis, arteriolosclerosis, and cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/rumc-mmi011119.php

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/16/activity-sharpens-even-dementia-affected-brains-report-suggests

Reference: 

Buchman, Aron S. et al. 2019. Physical activity, common brain pathologies, and cognition in community-dwelling older adults. Neurology, 92 (8), e811-e822; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006954

Related News

Survey data from 6,807 Danish older adults (average age 60) in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, has found that being distressed in late midlife is associated with a higher risk of dementia in later life.

Poor sleep has been associated with Alzheimer's disease risk, but a new study suggests a specific aspect of sleep is important.

Data from 1,215 older adults, of whom 173 (14%) were African-American, has found that, although brain scans showed no significant differences between black and white participants,

One important reason for the greater cognitive problems commonly experienced as we age, is our increasing difficulty in ignoring distracting and irrelevant information. But it may be that in some circumstances that propensity can be used to help memory.

A number of studies have found that physical exercise can help delay the onset of dementia, however the ability of exercise to slow the decline once dementia has set in is a more equivocal question. A large new study answers this question in the negative.

Do older adults forget as much as they think, or is it rather that they ‘misremember’?

A Finnish study involving over 1000 older adults suggests that a counselling program can prevent cognitive decline even among those with the Alzheimer’s gene.

A pilot study involving 106 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project who had experienced a stroke followed participants for an average of 5.9 years, testing their cognitive function and monitoring their eating habits using food journals.

A small Japanese study has found evidence that those with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) show a specific decline in their ability to recognize faces, and this is accompanied by changes in the way they scan faces.

Mild cognitive impairment (

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news