Physical Activity Tied to Reduced Cognitive Decline Risk

Greater activity energy expenditure tied to reduced cognitive impairment incidence in older adults

WEDNESDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Regular physical activity reduces the rate of cognitive decline in older women with vascular disease or risk factors; and greater activity energy expenditure (AEE) reduces the incidence of cognitive impairment in older adults, according to two studies published online July 19 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Marie-Noël Vercambre, Ph.D., from the Mutuelle Generale de lEducation Nationale in Paris, and colleagues investigated the association between physical activity and cognitive decline in 2,809 women (65 years or older) with vascular disease or risk factors. Cognitive function assessments were made using five tests of global cognition, verbal memory, and category fluency at baseline and during a follow up of 5.4 years. There was a significant trend towards decline in cognitive impairment rates with increasing energy expenditure, and regular walking for exercise. The significant cognitive decline difference between the bottom and fourth tertile of physical activity was equivalent to the difference in decline for women who were five to seven years younger.

Laura E. Middleton, Ph.D., from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and colleagues investigated the relationship between AEE and incidence of cognitive impairment among 197 men and women (mean age, 74.8 years) who were free of mobility and cognitive impairments at baseline. There was a significant dose response association between AEE and incidence of cognitive impairment (P = 0.05), with participants in the highest gender specific tertile of AEE showing significantly lower odds of incident cognitive impairment than those in the lowest tertile (odds ratio, 0.09).

"Our study provides new evidence that objectively-measured total daily activity, as measured by energy expenditure, is associated with a reduced incidence of cognitive impairment in older adults," Middleton and colleagues write.

Abstract - Vercambre
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Abstract - Middleton
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