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  • A small study found that aerobic fitness was linked to the frequency of tip-of-the-tongue occurrences in older adults.

A small UK study involving 28 healthy older adults (20 women with average age 70; 8 men with average age 67), has found that those with higher levels of aerobic fitness experienced fewer language failures such as 'tip-of-the-tongue' states.

  • A large 10-year study investigating the benefits of a brain training program for older adults found that training designed to improve processing speed & visual attention in particular reduced dementia risk.

Findings from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) Study, which followed 2,802 healthy older adults for 10 years, has found that those who participated in computer training designed to improve processing speed and visual attention had a 29% lower risk of dev

  • A study found that physical fitness & arterial stiffness accounted for a third of the cognitive differences between older adults, completely erasing age as a factor.

An Australian study involving 102 older adults (60-90) has concluded that physical fitness and arterial stiffness account for a great deal of age-related memory decline.

  • A long-running study found older adults who moved more were less likely to develop dementia, even when they had brain pathologies characteristic of dementia.

A long-running study involving 454 older adults who were given physical exams and cognitive tests every year for 20 years has found that those who moved more than average maintained more of their cognitive skills than people who were less active than average, even if they have brain lesions or b

  • A large, long-running study has found older adults with a slower walking speed were more likely to develop dementia in the next decade.
  • Another long-running study has found that slowing over 14 years was linked to brain atrophy in the hippocampus, and cognitive impairment.

Data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, in which nearly 4,000 older adults (60+) had their walking speed assessed on two occasions in 2002-2003 and in 2004-2005, those with a slower walking speed were more likely to develop dementia in the next 10 years.

  • A study found that older adults remembered names better after moderately intense exercise.
  • A large, long-running study found that each hour of light physical activity per week was linked to less brain atrophy.
  • Similarly, another long-running study reported that higher levels of lifestyle physical activity were associated with less brain atrophy.

Exercise activates brain networks in older adults

A study involving healthy older adults (55-85) found that recall was better after a session of moderately intense exercise, and several crucial brain regions showed greater activation.

  • A small study has shown that those who show the biggest brain benefits after a single exercise session also show the biggest long-term gains from a training program.

A small pilot study, in which participants had brain scans and

  • A mouse study has found that a hormone released during physical activity protects synapses in the hippocampus.
  • Another mouse study found that short bursts of exercise promotes an increase in synapses in the hippocampus.

How exercise may protect against Alzheimer's

  • A very large study found that an unhealthy lifestyle and high genetic risk were independently associated with higher dementia risk, and a healthy lifestyle reduced the risk for those at high genetic risk.

Data from 196,383 older adults (60+; mean age 64) in the UK Biobank found that a healthy lifestyle was associated with lower dementia risk regardless of genes.

Both an unhealthy lifestyle and high genetic risk were associated with higher dementia risk.

  • A very long-running Swedish study found that women with high levels of mental or physical activity in midlife were less likely to develop dementia.

A very long-running study, in which 800 Swedish women (aged 38-54) were followed for 44 years, found that women with a high level of mental activities in midlife were 46% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and 34% less likely to develop dementia overall, compared with women with the low

  • A very small study found that just 30 minutes of visually-guided movements per week could slow and even reverse the progress of dementia in those in the early stages of dementia.

Various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's, involve brain network problems. Brain regions are not coordinating as well as they should;

  • A clinical trial found that hypertensive older adults who took medication to keep their systolic blood pressure around 130 showed markedly fewer white matter lesions than those maintaining a level of 145.
  • A large, long-running study found that higher blood pressiure was linked to more brain lesions and more tau tangles.
  • A long-running study found that both higher amyloid-beta levels and higher vascular risk were linked to faster cognitive decline, with the factors interacting to be worse than additive.

Lowering blood pressure prevents worsening brain damage in elderly

  • A large study found a better cardiovascular health score was linked to a lower dementia risk and slower rates of cognitive decline, with both aspects reducing with each positive factor.
  • A large, long-running study found that higher systolic blood pressure at age 50 was linked to a greater risk of developing dementia, even when below the threshold for hypertension.
  • A large study reports that aggressive lowering of systolic blood pressure reduced the risk of MCI and dementia.
  • A long-running study found that older adults with high levels of arterial stiffness were more likely to develop dementia during the next 15 years.
  • Hypertensive rats exhibited larger ventricles, decreased brain volume, and impaired fluid transport in the brain possibly linked to impaired clearance of amyloid proteins.

Optimal levels of cardiovascular health in older age associated with lower dementia risk

  • Lymphatic vessels surround the brain and are vital to its ability to manage waste.
  • A mouse study has found that improvements to the flow of waste from brain to lymph nodes dramatically improved their cognition, while obstructing the lymphatic vessels increased the level of amyloid-beta plaques.

Although first reported in 1816, the fact that the brain is surrounded by lymphatic vessels, which connect the brain and the immune system, was only rediscovered in 2015.

  • A small study found that older adults with white matter damage caused by silent strokes noticed poorer attention and distractability.

A study involving 54 older adults (55-80), who possessed at least one risk factor for a stroke, found that those with

  • Enlarged perivascular spaces have been linked to poorer processing speed and executive functioning in older adults.

Perivascular spaces are fluid-filled spaces around the cerebral small vessels, commonly seen on brain scans in older adults. They have been thought to be harmless, but a new study challenges this belief.

  • A large study found that older adults experiencing heart surgery showed more long-term cognitive decline than those having a less invasive treatment, but not a great deal more.

Data from 3,105 older adults (65+) who had either heart surgery or cardiac catheterization has found that those who had heart surgery didn’t experience much greater cognitive decline compared with those who had the much less invasive, catheter-based procedure.

  • A very large study found that older adults with multiple health conditions showed much greater cognitive decline than those with fewer chronic conditions, even when the conditions weren't directly related to brain health.

Data from more than 14,265 people older adults (51+) multiple times over a decade or more through the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study has found that people with higher “multimorbidity scores” showed much faster cognitive decline than those with lower scores, even though most o

  • A very large study of adults aged 40-73 found evidence that alcohol's suggested benefit for cognition applies to a much lower level of alcohol consumption than previously claimed — only one drink a day.
  • Another longitudinal study that also removed the bias that's thought to come from including non-drinkers in the analysis, found no evidence for any cognitive benefits at any level of alcohol consumption.

Large study shows level of beneficial alcohol consumption much lower than thought

  • A rat brain cell study provides evidence that alcohol may increase Alzheimer's risk by impeding the removal of amyloid-beta protein.
  • A very large French study found that 38% of early-onset dementia cases were directly alcohol-related and 18% had an additional diagnosis of alcohol use disorders.

How alcohol increases Alzheimer's risk

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