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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora