Staying Fit May Ward Off Dementia, Alzheimer s
A study conducted at the University of Edinburgh, tested 460 surviving participants of the 1932 Scottish Mental Health Survey. Originally tested at age 11, the participants were given the same general cognitive test at age 79. Researchers also tested their grip strength, 6-meter walking time and lung functions. The results showed a positive correlation between physical fitness and cognitive function. (Dreary, IJ, Neurology, 2006 Oct 10; 67(7):1195-200)
In a more recent study, researchers in the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina tested 90 normal, older women with a gene that puts them at risk for Alzheimer’s, to determine their cognitive function and aerobic capacity. Those with the highest aerobic fitness performed significantly better on auditory verbal learning tests, complex figures tests and a paced serial addition task. (Etnier, JL Med Sci Sports Exerc., 2007 Jan; 39(1):199-207)
Both studies lend weight to the idea supported by other studies that keeping fit may help ward off cognitive decline and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.