Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Staying sharp: New study uncovers how people maintain cognitive function in old age

09.06.2009
Not everyone declines in cognitive function with age. Elderly people who exercise at least once a week, have at least a high school education and a ninth grade literacy level, are not smokers and are more socially active are more likely to maintain their cognitive skills through their 70s and 80s, according to research published in the June 9, 2009, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study followed 2,500 people age 70 to 79 for eight years, testing their cognitive skills several times over the years. Many of the participants showed decline in cognitive function. Fifty-three percent of the participants showed normal age-related decline and 16 percent showed major cognitive decline. However, 30 percent of the participants had no change or improved on the tests over the years.

The researchers then examined what factors made the people whose cognition stayed sharp different from those who lost some of their abilities over eight years.

"To this day, the majority of past research has focused on factors that put people at greater risk to lose their cognitive skills over time, but much less is known about what factors help people maintain their skills," said study author Alexandra Fiocco, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco.

The study reported a unique profile that differentiates people who maintain cognitive function from people who show age-related decline: people who exercise moderately to vigorously at least once a week are 30 percent more likely to maintain their cognitive function than those who do not exercise that often. Those who have at least a high school education are nearly three times as likely to stay sharp as those who have less education. Elderly with a ninth grade literacy level or higher are nearly five times as likely to stay sharp than those with lower literacy levels. Non-smokers are nearly twice as likely to stay sharp as those who smoke. Finally, people working or volunteering and people who report living with someone are 24 percent more likely to maintain cognitive function in late life.

"Some of these factors such as exercise and smoking are behaviors that people can change. Discovering factors associated with cognitive maintenance may be very useful in prevention strategies that guard against or slow the onset of dementia," Fiocco said. "These results will also help us understand the mechanisms that are involved in successful aging."

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Parkinson's disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), dementia, West Nile virus, and ataxia.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com or www.TheBrainMatters.org.

Rachel Seroka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aan.com
http://www.TheBrainMatters.org
http://www.aan.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

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)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>