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Published on: March 14, 2015
by Rubelle Tan for Health Aim:
Proper diet, exercise, and social activities can delay dementia, according to a recent study. Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki, and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm conducted the first large-scale human trial to show that healthy living can help maintain or even improve brain function.
The study assessed 1,260 people aged 60 to 77 at risk of medical decline. The researchers then implemented healthy diet plans, exercise and brain training to a part of the research population. They have found that those that were included in the intensive scheme containing the three elements had 25 percent better test scores than those who received simple medical advice alone.
“Much previous research has shown that there are links between cognitive decline in older people and factors such as diet, heart health, and fitness. Our study is the first to show a programme aimed at addressing risk factors might prevent cognitive decline”, says Professor Miia Kivipelto, lead researcher of the study.
Dementia is a brain condition that causes problems with memory and thinking and is one of the top three causes of disability in old age.
How was the study done?
The elements of the scheme implemented on the participants were:
“This study is one of the first of its kind, testing the benefits of a group of intensive lifestyle and health interventions on memory and thinking in older people at higher risk of dementia,” says Dr. Simon Ridley, of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“The initial results are promising and suggest that a combination of improving cardiovascular health and keeping mentally active could slow decline in some aspects of our thinking, but it is unclear which if the interventions carried the greatest benefit,” Ridley added.
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