'Keeping Active' Helps Reduce Alzheimer's Disease Risk

PA/The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 18/04/2012 21:20 Updated: 18/04/2012 21:20

Cleaning Alzheimers

Keeping active can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease even in people over the age of 80, a study has found.

Researchers asked 716 volunteers with an average age of 82 to wear a device that monitors day-to-day activity.

Study participants were also given cognitive tests to measure memory and thinking ability. After around three years, 71 of the volunteers developed Alzheimer's disease.

The research showed that the least active were more than twice as likely to develop the disease as those who were most active.

Dr Aron Buchman, from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said: "The results of our study indicate that all physical activities including exercise as well as other activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

"These results provide support for efforts to encourage all types of physical activity even in very old adults who might not be able to participate in formal exercise, but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle."

The findings appear in the online issue of the journal Neurology.

Dr Anne Corbett, research manager at the Alzheimer's Society, said: "It is well established that regular physical exercise is an important way to reduce your risk of developing dementia.

"It can reduce the risk by up to 45%. This study adds to this evidence and suggests that simple things like cooking and cleaning can also make a difference.

"One in three people over 65 will die with dementia, but as this shows, there are things you can do to help reduce your risk. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and stop smoking.

"Eating a Mediterranean diet high in antioxidants and oily fish and even the odd glass of red wine can also help."

Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "There is already some evidence that exercise in mid-life can help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. This study adds to this by suggesting that daily physical activity like doing household jobs or playing cards could have benefits into older age.

"One of the strengths of this study is that physical activity was measured using a small monitoring device, rather than relying on self-reported questionnaires which can often be unreliable.

"While the study highlights an association between physical activity and cognitive decline, more research is needed to explore this relationship further."

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  • Lifestyle Changes To Help Prevent Dementia

  • Drink Decaffeinated Coffee

    A study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/01/decaffeinated-coffee-preserves-memory-diabetes_n_1246240.html" target="_hplink">decaffeinated coffee improves the brain's energy metabolism - linked to cognitive decline</a> - in those with Type 2 diabetes. "This is the first evidence showing the potential benefits of decaffeinated coffee preparations for both preventing and treating cognitive decline caused by type 2 diabetes, ageing, and/ or neurodegenerative disorders," said lead researcher, Dr Giulio Maria Pasinett.

  • Play Brain-Teasing Games

    Everyday <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/01/puzzles-and-exercise-help-beat-dementia-symptoms_n_1122502.html" target="_hplink">games, puzzles and tasks were able to postpone decline in cognitive function and the ability to carry out everyday tasks, in dementia patients, for at least a year</a>, according to research from the University of Erlangen in Germany, published in the journals BMC Medicine.

  • Eat Less

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/20/eat-less-remember-more-and-other-memory-boosters_n_1160584.html" target="_hplink">Eating fewer calories could help boost memory and cognitive function</a>, according to a study at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. Researchers hope to mimic the same effect with a drug in the future, bringing hope to Alzheimer's sufferers as well as those suffering from injury-related memory loss.

  • Eat Fish

    Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre and School of Medicine found that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/30/eating-fish-protects-against-alzheimers_n_1120156.html" target="_hplink">people who ate baked or grilled fish regularly reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer's</a>. Reseracher Cyrus Raji said: "The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled (grilled) fish at least one time per week had better preservation of grey matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer's disease."

  • Play The Wii Fit

    <a href="http://lifestyle.aol.co.uk/2012/01/17/why-a-wii-workout-could-be-better-than-the-gym-for-over-50s/" target="_hplink">Working out using virtual games such as the Wii Fit could slow cognitive decline in the over 50s</a>, researchers from Union College in the US found. Participants aged between 58 and 99 were given a 3D exercise game to play. Compared to the control group who were asked to use a regular exercise bike, the 'cybercycle' group had a 23% decrease in advancement of mild cognitive impairment and showed improved 'executive function'.

  • Do The Seven-Step Plan

    A study in The Lancet Neurology suggest that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/07/19/new-study-shows-seven-way_n_901934.html" target="_hplink">3m cases of Alzheimer's across the world could be prevented in seven simple ways</a>. The report recommends quitting smoking, increasing physical activity, controlling your blood pressure and diabetes risk factors as well as managing depression and obesity to help combat the disease.