Physical Activity, Cognition Related in Older U.S. Adults

Motor abilities independently correlated with reduced levels of dementia

Higher levels of physical activity and motor abilities were independently associated with better cognition in older adults, even when brain lesions or biomarkers linked to dementia were present, a post-mortem study showed.

The study also showed no evidence that a more active lifestyle or better motor abilities modified associations between dementia pathologies and cognitive function, suggesting the cognitive reserve associated with activity may be unrelated.

The results of the study, authored by Aron Buchman, MD, of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago were published in a recent edition of Neurology.

The study utilized data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a cohort of adults who agreed to not only regular monitoring and testing, but brain donation at the time of their deaths. Ultimately, the data consisted of 454 adult patients, 73 percent of whom were female. The average age at death was 91 years of age.

“Physical activity may provide cognitive reserve to maintain function independent of accumulating brain pathologies,” Buchman told MedPage Today.

“Similar findings have been reported for late-life cognitive activities,” he added. “Together, these suggest that even in the absence of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, a more active lifestyle including physical and cognitive activities may help maintain cognition in older adults.”

SOURCES: U.S. News, Medpage

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