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  • Writer's pictureCRAIG BRYAN

Exercise Can Help Fight Signs of Dementia, Study Says

You already know that exercise is good for your body. You might also know that it helps your brain, as well.


But now, new research in the journal JAMA Neurology shows that living a healthy lifestyle protects the brain from cognitive decline even if it already shows signs of Alzheimer’s hallmarks or other brain pathologies that can occur long before dementia.


Scientists said the study is “an important step” in understanding how people can change their lifestyle habits to lower their chances of getting Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.


In the research, they examined the brains of 586 people during autopsies, along with 24 years of data that was collected on how those people lived.


This study found that in older adults, a healthy lifestyle may provide a cognitive reserve to maintain cognitive abilities independently of common neuropathologies of dementia,” the scientists wrote.


The authors report that five lifestyle factors (diet, physical activity, cognitive engagement, smoking, and alcohol consumption) “may operate through both prevention and resilience in that cognitive benefits were observed even for those who had neurodegenerative pathologies,” according to an editorial accompanying the research.


More than 88% of a person’s cognitive abilities were directly associated with lifestyle, the researchers found.


Developing dementia is one of the most common fears about growing older. The researchers note than 40% of worldwide dementia could be prevented through lifestyles changes. Are you doing everything you can to protect yourself?

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