Several studies suggest that post-operative cognitive decline in older adults is due to several factors:
It also seems that higher levels of cognitive function, higher levels of engagement in certain cognitive activities, and better cerebrovascular health, all protect against such decline.
Data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project has found that emergency and urgent hospitalizations are associated with an increased rate of cognitive decline in older adults.
A Finnish study involving 338 older adults (average age 66) has found that greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function.
Data from over 11,500 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort has found evidence that orthostatic hypotension in middle age may increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia 20 years later.
A review of 39 studies investigating the effect of exercise on cognition in older adults (50+) confirms that physical exercise does indeed improve cognitive function in the over 50s, regardless of their cognitive status.
Data from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, involving 6,467 postmenopausal women (65+) who reported some level of caffeine consumption, has found that those who consumed above average amounts of coffee had a lower risk of developing dementia.
A small study that fitted 29 young adults (18-31) and 31 older adults (55-82) with a device that recorded steps taken and the vigor and speed with which they were made, has found that those older adults with a higher step rate performed better on memory tasks than those who were more sedentary.
A study involving 39 older adults has found that those randomly assigned to a “high-challenge” group showed improved cognitive performance and more efficient brain activity compared with those assigned to a low-challenge group, or a control group.
Data from 2,800 participants (aged 65+) in the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study has revealed that one type of cognitive training benefits less-educated people more than it does the more-educated.
A study involving 266 people with mild cognitive impairment (aged 70+) has found that B vitamins are more effective in slowing cognitive decline when people have higher omega 3 levels.
Growing research has implicated infections as a factor in age-related cognitive decline, but these have been cross-sectional (comparing different individuals, who will have a number of other, possibly confounding, attributes).