A recent study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine discovered some important habits that could potentially protect the brain against cognitive decline. This report explored recent interventions to prevent or delay dementia onset, or to slow the progress of the condition once the diagnosis has been made. Researchers reviewed only randomized controlled trials, finding that such studies were relatively few in numbers and included many limitations. However, there were three practices that, while the evidence is ultimately inconclusive, showed promising results. Cognitive training exercises (to improve problem solving, memory, etc.) had a protective effect in some cases, but the results were mixed. Properly managing hypertension also tended to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, and along with the strong case that controlling blood pressure reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, there is enough evidence to encourage the public to manage blood pressure, especially between ages 35-65, to prevent, delay, or slow Alzheimer’s disease. Physical activity also has many links to brain health; through stroke prevention and other mechanisms, exercising was seen to slow or delay cognitive decline in old age in many cases. While the evidence is inconclusive, the numerous other health benefits of exercise justify public communications regarding physical activity and brain health. None of these interventions were backed up by strong enough evidence to warrant a public health campaign, but the results are promising and further research in these areas is needed.
SOURCE: Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170622171407.htm
DATE RETRIEVED: June 29, 2017