Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study says heart health and lifestyle are associated with maintaining brain health as we age

22.02.2006


Heart health risk factors and lifestyle choices, such as exercise, learning new things and staying socially connected, are associated with maintaining brain health as we age according to a new report from a multi-Institute collaboration of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published online today in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.



"Many of the factors that can put our brain health at risk are things we can modify and control," said William Thies, PhD, vice president, Medical & Scientific Affairs for the Alzheimer’s Association. "This article points to the possibility that healthier living can significantly contribute to reducing the numbers of sick and mentally declining older people, and reduce healthcare costs. To accomplish that, we need more research to show us which specific combinations of lifestyle choices, and also future therapies, will maintain our brain and emotional health."

Key Findings


The study’s salient finding from a public health perspective is the importance of controlling cardiovascular (CV) risk factors for maintaining brain health as we age. These are factors that people can change, and they include reducing blood pressure, reducing weight, reducing cholesterol, treating (or preferably avoiding) diabetes, and not smoking.

"Based on our review of CV risk factors, the link between hypertension and cognitive decline was the most robust across studies," said committee chair Hugh Hendrie, MB, ChB, DSc, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Indiana University School of Medicine.

A related finding is the close correlation between physical activity and brain health. Three separate, large-scale, observational studies examined by the committee found that elders who exercise are less likely to experience cognitive decline. However, they caution that more research is needed before specific recommendations can be made about which types of exercise and how much exercise are beneficial.

The authors pointed out that "if physical activity were to protect against cognitive deterioration in the elderly, it would be of great public health importance because physical activity is relatively inexpensive, has few negative consequences, and is accessible to most elders." And they said that increasing physical activity "could have a dramatic impact on quality of life and healthcare expenditures at a societal level owing to the large number of elders that could potentially benefit." The authors suggest that "there would be great benefit in conducting a large clinical trial to determine if physical activity, possibly in combination with intellectual activity, can prevent cognitive decline."

"We found surprising consistency across the studies," said committee member Marilyn Albert, PhD, Director of the Division of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Immediate Past Chair of the Alzheimer’s Association Medical & Scientific Advisory Council. "In particular, we found that well known risk factors for heart disease also are risk factors for cognitive decline, and that physical activity may reduce risk for cognitive decline and dementia in older adults."

The committee also found that:

- Protective factors most consistently reported for cognitive health include higher education level, higher socio-economic status, emotional support, better initial performance on cognitive tests, better lung capacity, more physical exercise, moderate alcohol use, and use of vitamin supplements.

- Psychosocial factors, such as social disengagement and depressed mood, are associated with both poorer cognitive and emotional health in late life.

- Increased mental activity throughout life, such as learning new things, may also benefit brain health.

- Genetic influences on cognitive and emotional health with aging are poorly understood at present.

The article calls on the research community to study brain health maintenance with as much vigor as is now brought to the quest to understand brain disease. While acknowledging that prevention trials, especially in older populations, present enormous logistic and design issues, the authors recommend that "cognitive [and emotional] outcomes could, in a very cost effective way, be added to ongoing trials designed to reduce CV risk factors and disease."

The committee proposed that there would be great value now in conducting intensive study of each of the potential risk factors identified in the survey.

More About the Research

The article is the report of a committee to the NIH’s Cognitive and Emotional Health Project (CEHP). The CEHP’s goal is to assess the state of research looking at what may determine or influence cognitive and emotional health in older people, and the ways in which cognitive and emotional health may influence each other. Cognitive abilities include learning and memory, abstract thought, language, and the ability to focus and perform simple tasks. Emotional health includes a person’s sense of competence or ability to control and use emotions constructively, and the ability to cope with stress.

Three institutes of the NIH – the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) – have joined efforts to conduct the initiative.

"Our charge was to analyze the existing scientific literature about factors involved in maintaining cognitive and emotional health in adults as they age," Hendrie said. "We chose to review 36 very large, ongoing epidemiological studies in North America and Europe."

Niles Frantz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alz.org
http://www.alzheimersanddementia.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>