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Friday, 2 November 2012

Exercise Prevents Dementia in Some Seniors






Physical activity was associated with less progression to cognitive impairment or vascular dementia among older patients who were living independently but who had white matter changes on MRI at baseline, a study found.

Note that the study was not an intervention trial and that the follow-up period was 3 years.
Older people who are living independently but have signs of cerebral damage may lower their risk of having progressive cognitive impairment or dementia if they remain physically active, researchers found.

Even after adjustment for white matter changes seen on MRI and history of stroke, those who met criteria for physical activity had significantly lower risks of developing any cognitive impairment, any dementia, and vascular dementia over a 3-year period, according to Ana Verdelho, MD, of the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and colleagues.

The relationship between physical activity and vascular dementia remained significant after further adjustment for baseline cognitive function (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.94), the researchers reported online in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Our data support the conviction that older subjects with vascular risk factors and evidence for vascular cerebral damage benefit from regular physical activity," Verdelho and colleagues wrote. "We think that [the] relation between physical activity and cognitive impairment should be further studied by interventional studies."

Previous analyses have identified associations between physical activity and lower risks of cognitive decline and progression to dementia, with possible explanations including mental and social stimulation from exercise, improved cerebral blood flow, reduced vascular risk factors, decreased stress hormone levels, stimulation of brain plasticity, enhanced endothelial function, and decreased progression of intima-media thickness.

02/11/2012  :  By Todd Neale /  MedPage Today.

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