A Simple Way to Preserve Cognitive Function

Peter Yellowlees, MBBS, MD


April 03, 2012

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This is the Medscape Psychiatry Minute. I am Dr. Peter Yellowlees. Individuals with vascular disease, or risk factors for, have substantially higher rates of cognitive decline, yet little is known about how to maintain cognition in this group. Now a team of investigators from Paris, France, have examined the relation between physical activity and cognitive decline in a cohort of 2809 women 65 years of age or older with prevalent vascular disease, or at least 3 coronary risk factors, over a 5-year period. The investigators found significantly reduced rates of cognitive decline with increasing energy expenditure. The equivalent of a daily 30-minute walk at a brisk pace led to rates of cognitive decline similar to those of women 5-7 years younger. The investigators concluded that regular physical activity, including walking, was associated with better preservation of cognitive function in older women with vascular disease or risk factors. We know that the advice that we give to seniors who want to maintain their cognition is that they should "use it or lose it," and it now seems that we should be adding regular exercise to our list of cognitively oriented recommendations. This article is selected from Medscape Best Evidence. I am Dr. Peter Yellowlees.



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