Healthy Lifestyle Linked to Lower Dementia Risk

Tai ChiA British study that followed 2,235 middle aged men for 30 years, found that those who followed a healthy lifestyle were at significantly lower risk for diabetes, vascular disease as well as cognitive impairment and dementia.

The researchers defined a “healthy lifestyle” based on five factors: non-smoking, an “acceptable” body mass index (BMI), a high fruit and vegetable intake, regular physical activity, and low/moderate alcohol intake. The men were all from Caerphilly in South Wales.

The study began in 1979 and over the next 25 years the researchers tracked the incidence of diabetes, vascular disease, cancer, death and also determined the men’s cognitive status.

Men who adhered to four of the five healthy behaviors were at significantly less risk of developing diabetes and vascular disease after adjusting for age and social class, the researchers reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

In addition, the risk of cognitive decline and dementia was also significantly less for the participants who followed at least four of the five healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Fruits and vegetables“A healthy lifestyle is associated with increased disease-free survival and reduced cognitive impairment,” the researchers concluded.

A study by researchers at Harvard University found that diet for middle aged women was “strongly linked to greater health and well-being in persons surviving to older ages.”

At Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals, physician-researchers are conducting research that they hope will halt or slow the progression of cognitive decline.

The National Institute on Aging awarded a $3.5 million grant to Jefferson’s Barry Rovner, MD, to study whether increased participation in cognitive, physical and social activities can prevent further loss of memory and cognitive decline in patients with mild memory loss.

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