How Exercise Protects From Dementia, New Study Shows

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Seniors at risk for dementia were found to retain much better cognitive functions when coached on physical exercise, diet and heart health, something Dr. Sandeep Grewal says could change how the condition is treated. Keeping the body in shape can help stave off dementia, according to a new study, where seniors who were coached on a healthier diet and regular exercise saw dramatic results in cognitive functions.

Best memory book

Dementia Express

“I wrote Dementia Express to encourage seniors to give their minds a work-out as well,”

A new study from Sweden’s National Institute for Health and Welfare finds that individuals who are at risk of dementia have a much better chance of staving off the condition by combining mental and physical exercise. In some tests, those participants who followed such a regimen saw startling results when compared to a control group.

Recently published in The Lancet, the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability recruited 1260 participants, all between the ages of 60 and 77. Each was deemed to be at risk for dementia at the top of the study.

One half of the participants were regularly given “comprehensive intervention” related to some of the most serious health risk factors for that age group, including dementia itself, heart concerns or a high body-mass index. The remaining participants made up the control group and were only given standard health advice over the course of the two year study.

The overall processing speed of those who received the comprehensive guidance was found to be a shocking 150% higher than the control group. Meanwhile the brain’s executive functioning, where thoughts and memories are organized, was 83% higher in the first group.

In all, the control group was found to be 25% lower from the invention group when all cognitive testing was averaged out.

Dr. Sandeep Grewal, author of the book “Dementia Express: Lose Your Memory in 100 Ways”, has been encouraging patients to combine mental and physical exercise for years. An internal medicine specialist practicing in both Carolinas, Grewal has long been fascinated by how the mind is used, and sometimes under-used.

“There is so much we don’t understand yet about our brains,” Dr. Grewal says, “but one thing this study definitively demonstrates is how crucial good physical health is to supporting solid mental health. It is another muscle, after all.”

Grewal’s book “Dementia Express” was specifically written out as a logic problem, challenging readers on each page to factually assess what they’re reading in order to deduce the actual messages hidden within. The book’s subtitle, “Lose Your Mind is 100 Ways” is itself seemingly counterintuitive.

“We see it in our practices every day as doctors,” Dr. Grewal continues. “how closely intertwined the mind and body truly are. If you take good care of one, it’s much easier to take care of the other.”

Dr. Grewal went on to praise the Swedish professors who led the research, saying “They’ve shown us a powerful tool in helping seniors stay mentally sharp while also exercising the body. Their results were striking, and the message is a very positive one.”

“I wrote Dementia Express to encourage seniors to give their minds a work-out as well,” he continues, “while also of course strongly encouraging physical exercise. Earlier studies have also demonstrated a strong link between the two, but nothing with the stark results shown here.”

“This should drive people to action and may even change how we doctors treat those at risk,” he explains. “The message is clear: if you know someone at risk of dementia, you need to keep them moving and active, from the neck up and the neck down.”

The Swedish study is scheduled to continue for several years to gauge any decline or improvement seen in cognitive abilities among the intervention group.

Dr. Grewal’s book, “Dementia Express” is available on Amazon.

Attribution:
News Medical (Apr. 6, 2015) - http://www.news-medical.net/news/20150406/Healthy-eating-exercise-and-brain-training-programme-results-in-slower-mental-decline-for-older-people.aspx

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