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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More