MENU
 

More Health and Nutrition Bites

The power of small changes 12/13/17
High-glycemic-index diets linked to risk of Alzheimer's Disease 12/06/17
Pro-inflammatory diets lead to weight gain 11/29/17
"Meal" vs. "snack": the name matters 11/22/17
Beans reduce insulin response 11/15/17
Warfarin may help prevent cancer 11/08/17
Most satisfying: dark or milk chocolate? 11/01/17
Portion size more important than turning off the TV 10/25/17
The importance of breakfast (it's not what you think) 10/18/17
Diet quality matters 10/11/17
Coffee and your heart 10/04/17
Get your exercise 09/27/17
Mushrooms vs. Meat 09/20/17
Good news for GERD sufferers 09/14/17
Reseal the bag 09/06/17
All Health and Nutrition Bites

Related

Omega-3 supplements do not protect from dementia
It's important to prove that treatments work, and the gold standard, as I've discussed in the past, is the prospective controlled trial. That's when a group of people, the larger the better, are randomly assigned to the test condition (say, a new medication), or a control condition (either not taking the medication at all, or taking what is at that time the standard medication), then followed for a period of time - again, the longer, the better.

Being Apple-Shaped and the Risk of Dementia
We know that being apple-shaped is more of a health risk than is being pear-shaped. Body fat that is centralized to the abdomen (being apple-shaped) is a strong risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and death from all causes, just by itself.

Fruits, Vegetables and Your Brain
We know from recent studies that following a Mediterranean-style diet reduces your risk of Alzheimer's and can also slow the normal decline in cognition as one ages.


 

Health & Nutrition Bites

Get the latest health and diet news - along with what you can do about it - sent to your Inbox once a week. Get Dr. Gourmet's Health and Nutrition Bites sent to you via email. Sign up now!

Exercise and Dementia



a group of senior citizen, seen from behind, walking and carrying walking sticks

Just a couple of months ago I told you about a randomized, controlled trial that indicated that omega-3 fatty acid supplements appear to have no effect on the rate of cognitive decline experienced by those over 70. They did note that omega-3s, like other vitamins, might have more of an effect when consumed as part of a food, and not in pill form, and that beginning treatment after the age of 70 might be too late (best to eat fish now!).

Recently, an article published in JAMA looked at the effect of physical activity on the risk of dementia or reduced cognitive function (2015;314(8):781-790). The study participants were 1,500 men and women between the ages of 70 and 89 who were at risk of losing mobility, but could walk at least 400 yards. They were randomly assigned to a physical activity program or to a more general health education program that included mild upper-body stretching.

For 24 months the participants assigned to the physical activity program attended physical activity classes (including strength training, balance, and flexibility exercises) twice per week at the lab, and committed to do the same activities at home 3-4 additional times per week.

Those assigned to the health education program attended health classes once weekly for the first 12 months and then at least once per month in the second year. These sessions varied in length and included guest speakers, demonstrations, field trips, and stretching and flexibility exercises.

At the start and end of the study, the participants responded to a battery of tests designed to measure their cognitive function and detect incipient dementia.

The authors found that there was no significant difference between the groups with respect to cognitive function or dementia, although those in the physical activity group who were over 80 and had more physical limitations did seem to experience improvement in their executive function, which has been described as the CEO of the brain - responsible for planning, managing time, and switching focus, among other things.

What this means for you

The authors admit that they can not rule out the idea that both interventions - physical activity or health classes - might have helped decrease the expected decline in cognitive function. That said, we do know that physical activity can be very beneficial for the elderly, keeping them more mobile and self-sufficient along with its other benefits. Keep exercising!

First posted: November 4, 2015