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

A study (“Midlife in the United States”) assessing 3,343 men and women aged 32-84 (mean age 56), of whom almost 40% had at least a 4-year college degree, has found evidence that frequent cognitive activity can counteract the detrimental effect of poor education on age-related cognitive decline.

Previous research has shown that older adults are more likely to incorrectly repeat an action in situations where a

It’s now well established that older brains tend to find it harder to filter out irrelevant information. But now a new study suggests that that isn’t all bad.

A study involving 155 women aged 65-75 has found that those who participated in resistance training once or twice weekly for a year significantly improved their selective attention (maintaining mental focus) and conflict resolution (as well as muscular function of course!), compared to those who

A number of rodent studies have shown that blueberries can improve aging memory; now for the first time, a human study provides evidence.

A study involving 57 cognitively healthy older adults has found that those who showed decreased memory performance two years later (20 of the 57) had higher baseline levels of phosphorylated tau231 in the

Midlife hypertension has been confirmed as a risk factor for the development of dementia in late life, but there have been conflicting findings about the role of late-life hypertension.

By following 597 Alzheimer’s patients over 15 years, researchers have determined that a simple progression rate can be calculated at the initial visit, using symptom onset and present performance, and that this can reliably identify slow, intermediate and rapid progression.

A survey of more than 100 studies involving PIB-PET, a diagnostic tool that involves injecting a radiotracer called

Pages

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