News / Health

Studies Show Exercise Reduces Dementia Risk

A daily, half-hour of brisk walking has significant impact

A new study finds a strong relationship between activity energy expenditure and the risk of cognitive impairment.
A new study finds a strong relationship between activity energy expenditure and the risk of cognitive impairment.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Evidence continues to mount that physical exercise reduces a person’s risk of dementia.

In some of the latest research, scientists measure actual physical activity, rather than rely on people's imperfect memories.

Most researchers studying physical activity and dementia rely on self-reporting. So they'll ask people in a study about what exercise they've had in the past week, for example.

But there are problems with self-reporting. Laura Middleton of the Sunnybrook Research Institute and the University of Waterloo in Canada says for one thing, people just don't remember what they've done. Also, people tend to report certain types of activities more than others.

"[Self-reporting] does a very good job of capturing jogging or biking or tennis, but does a relatively poor job of capturing low-intensity activity like walking or daily chores, which may also be important to the risk of cognitive impairment."

To get around that problem, Middleton measured physical activity with an established technique that uses doubly labeled water, made from isotope variants of hydrogen and oxygen. Participants in the five-year study drank a small amount of this special water, and by measuring the isotope variants in their urine, their energy expenditure can be calculated.

"What we found was a strong relationship between activity energy expenditure and the risk of incident cognitive impairment, she says, "with those of higher activity energy expenditure had 90 percent reduced risk of incident cognitive impairment over the follow-up period compared to those with very low energy activity expenditure."

Laura Middleton and her colleagues describe their findings online in the Archives of Internal Medicine, published by the American Medical Association.

In the same issue, another paper - this one from French researchers led by Marie-Noël Vercambre of the Foundation of Public Health in Paris - studied the exercise-dementia link in a large group of women with cardiac risk factors such as obesity or diabetes. In this study, the women who got the equivalent of a brisk, half-hour walk every day had a lower risk of cognitive impairment.

Dr. Eric Larson of the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington, says the studies add to the evidence that physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

"It's not obvious to people that exercise would make your brain healthier," he says. "And as each study does more detailed analyses of special groups or a different way of making the measurements, it just makes the scientific basis for this relationship a lot more convincing."

Larson writes that, with accumulating evidence of the link, research should now focus on how best to encourage people to be active, especially in later life.  

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid