New Study Shows: Fitness in 40s, 50s Tied to Lower Dementia Risk

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According to John Gever, Senior Editor of MedPage Today, individuals with the highest levels of cardiorespiratory fitness during middle age were significantly less likely to develop dementia in their senior years, according to a long-term prospective study. (See MedPageToday.com)

Notes Gever: “Although the observational study could not prove that cardiorespiratory fitness actually prevents onset of dementia later on, Laura F. DeFina, MD, of the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and colleagues indicated that such a causal connection is plausible.

For example, greater fitness would reduce the incidence of other known risk factors for dementia such as diabetes and hypertension, the researchers noted. Fitness has also been linked to greater brain volume, and some evidence points to connections between physical activity and neural plasticity, neurotrophic factors, and beta-amyloid protein deposits.”

According to Lisa Kiely, Director of Wellness and Community Life Services at Park Springs, “This and other recent studies note that physical fitness and ongoing physical activity throughout your entire life may actually protect you against dementia, and it again underscores the importance of incorporating physical activities in your daily life as a prescription for possible dementia prevention.

“We all fear Alzheimer’s disease. Knowing that physical fitness can reduce the risk for dementia may motivate everyone to start and follow through with an exercise and fitness plan.”

The study was funded by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the American Heart Association.

Primary source: Annals of Internal Medicine
Source reference:
DeFina L, et al “The association between midlife cardiorespiratory fitness levels and later-life dementia: A cohort study” Annals Intern Med 2013.

Additional source: Annals of Internal Medicine
Source reference:
Sano M “Never too fit for body and mind” Annals Intern Med 2013; 158: 213-214.

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