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Cognitive deterioration in the older generation can be prevented by modifying the lifestyle

by Medindia Content Team on February 21, 2006 at 8:26 PM
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Cognitive deterioration in the older generation can be prevented by modifying the lifestyle

A new research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that Heart health risk can be prevented by modifying the lifestyle choices, such as exercise, learning new things and staying socially connected. This report was published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

William Thies, PhD, vice president, Medical & Scientific Affairs for the Alzheimer's Association said that specific combinations of lifestyle choices, and also future therapies, will maintain our brain and emotional health. The result of the report is that of controlling cardiovascular (CV) risk factors that affect the health of the brain.

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The factors are reducing blood pressure, reducing weight, reducing cholesterol, treating diabetes, and not smoking. Hugh Hendrie, MB, ChB, DSc, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine said that the most common CV risk factor is the association of hypertension to cognitive decline.

Another important finding was that elders who exercised are less likely to experience cognitive decline. But further research has to be done on the type of exercise that has to be recommended for these patients. If this finding is true then would benefit a number of people as it is relatively inexpensive, has few negative consequences, and is accessible to most elders.
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Hence the researchers plan to conduct a large clinical trial to determine if physical activity, possibly in combination with intellectual activity, can prevent cognitive decline. Marilyn Albert, PhD, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Immediate Past Chair of the Alzheimer's Association Medical & Scientific Advisory Council said that there is a link between the risk factors for heart disease and those for cognitive decline.

She also said that physical activity may reduce risk for cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. Researchers said that cognitive health can be maintained with higher education level, higher socio-economic status, emotional support, better initial performance on cognitive tests, better lung capacity, more physical exercise, moderate alcohol use, and use of vitamin supplements. On the other hand psychosocial factors, such as social disengagement and depressed mood, are associated with both poorer cognitive and emotional health.

Three institutes of the NIH the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have joined efforts to conduct the initiative research.

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