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Mid-Life Exercise Keeps Brain Fit
Mid-Life Exercise Keeps Brain Fit by Tom Harrison
Interventions that could postpone the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) even modestly would have a major public health impact, because the proportion of elderly in the population is increasing. People who engage in regular exercise during their middle-age years may lower their risk of suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia in later life, according to research published in The Lancet Neurology ( Volume 4, Issue 11, November 2005, Pages 705-711).
Miia Kivipelto of the Aging Research Center in Sweden and colleagues randomly selected 1,449 people aged 65 to 79 who had been surveyed about their leisure-time physical activity in 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987 to participate in the study.
Leisure-Time Physical Activity
The investigators re-examined the participants in 1998 and found that individuals participating in leisure-time physical activity at least twice a week had a 60% lower risk of AD compared to those participating in physical activity less than twice a week.
Members of the active group were half as likely to suffer from dementia than those in the sedentary group.
In individuals who were genetically susceptible to AD, physical activity had a more pronounced effect against developing dementia or AD in later life, the researchers found.
Wide Implications for Preventive Healthcare
Interventions that could postpone the onset of AD even modestly would have a major public health impact, the authors note, because the proportion of elderly in the population is increasing.
"These findings may have wide implications for preventive healthcare," says Dr. Kivipelto. "If an individual adopts an active lifestyle in youth and at midlife, this may increase their probability of enjoying both physically and cognitively vital years later in life."
Copyright 2005 Tom Harrison is a health journalist for Daily News Central, an online publication that delivers
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providers and industry professionals.