Fitness and Dementia

 

A few months ago we put out an article about the work of Neuro-scientist Dr Michael Merzenich. His work proposes the idea that "brain plasticity" - the brain function whereby neural pathways are constantly created in response to learning - continues throughout life, thereby proposing a person's lifelong ability to influence one's own brain development by continuing positively to embrace learning. There followed a similar piece, "Exercise and the Brain - it just gets better".

 

Now, another piece of research into the brain and ageing, of particular relevance to SGSC,

 

A few months ago we put out an article about the work of Neuro-scientist Dr Michael Merzenich. His work proposes the idea that "brain plasticity" - the brain function whereby neural pathways are constantly created in response to learning - continues throughout life, thereby proposing a person's lifelong ability to influence one's own brain development by continuing positively to embrace learning. There followed a similar piece, "Exercise and the Brain - it just gets better".


Now, another piece of research into the brain and ageing, of particular relevance to SGSC, comes from the American College of Physicians. The report - in the 5th Feb issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and co-authored by DeFina, Willis, Radford, Gao, Leonard, Haskell, Weiner and Berry - gives the results of a study into the relationship between Cardiorespiratory fitness in mid-life and Dementia in later life.

 

The study tested the fitness levels of 19,458 middle-aged individuals, divided them up accordingly and followed their lives for many years, well beyond the age of 65, to see who went on to develop dementia.

 

They found a marked correlation between lower fitness levels and dementia. In other words, those who had been found to be fitter in the initial tests were much less likely to develop dementia than those who were the least fit.

 

They accepted that the fitter subjects could well also pursue healthier lifestyles in general which might have influenced the results, but how bad is that? Have a healthier life style and you stand a better chance of avoiding dementia - there could be worse things!