Lifestyle Effects on Memory & Cognition

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  • A large study has found that smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are each linked to more brain atrophy, and damage to white matter.
  • The more of these you have, the greater the shrinkage and damage.

Brain scans of 9,772 people aged 44 to 79, who were enrolled in the UK Biobank study, have revealed that smoking, high blood pressure, high pulse pressure, diabetes, and high BMI — but not high cholesterol — were all linked to greater brain shrinkage, less

  • A very large study shows that greater exposure to air pollution was linked to poorer cognitive performance in older adults, especially men and the less educated.

A large Chinese study involving 20,000 people has found that the longer people were exposed to air pollution, the worse their cognitive performance in verbal and math tests. The effect of air pollution on verbal tests became more pronounced with age, especially for men and the less educated.

  • A small study of young adults found that 10 minutes of light exercise improved memory for details and increased relevant brain activity.
  • Another study found that 15 minutes of more intense exercise after learning a new motor skill resulted in better skill performance a day later.

Ten minutes of light exercise boosts memory

  • The connection between sleep apnea and depression may lie in a problem with autobiographical memory.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep.

People with OSA are known to suffer memory problems and also have higher rates of depression.

  • Getting a good night’s sleep is given greater importance with the discovery that sleep deprivation appears to rapidly increase the spread of tau tangles.

Poor sleep has been associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, and this has been thought to be in part because the protein amyloid beta increases with sleep deprivation. A new study explains more.

  • Older people who spend less time in slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) have higher levels of the Alzheimer’s brain protein tau.

Poor sleep has been associated with Alzheimer's disease risk, but a new study suggests a specific aspect of sleep is important.

  • A large study indicates that lifestyle changes, together with advice and support for managing vascular health, can help prevent cognitive decline even in carriers of the Alzheimer's gene.

A Finnish study involving over 1000 older adults suggests that a counselling program can prevent cognitive decline even among those with the Alzheimer’s gene.

  • A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength is associated with brain health and cognitive performance, including among schizophrenics.

A British study using data from 475,397 participants has shown that, on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used.

  • While handgrip strength has been linked to dementia risk in the elderly, a new study indicates that less impaired or fragile older adults need upper and lower body strength tests — but that these, too, are correlated with cognitive function.

A Finnish study involving 338 older adults (average age 66) has found that greater muscle strength is associated with better cognitive function.

  • Brain scans of healthy young adults found that higher aerobic fitness was associated with greater hippocampal elasticity, which was a better predictor of cognitive performance than hippocampal volume.

A new MRI technique has revealed that it is the structural integrity of the

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