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Scientists find 5 factors that can improve brain health and reduce the risk of dementia


Scientists have discovered the secrets to maintaining a sharp mind in recent years.

A recent study published in JAMA Neurology identified five lifestyle factors that contribute to brain health as people age.

By examining autopsies of 586 people who lived to an average age of 91, the study linked healthy habits with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, even in those who showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. The participants, who are part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, underwent regular physical and mental testing for more than two decades.

Factors for improving brain health included not smoking, moderate to vigorous exercise, limited alcohol consumption, participating in brain-stimulating activities, and following a variation of the MIND diet.

Study participants were labeled as followers of a healthy lifestyle if they made certain daily decisions:

  • No Smoking.
  • Do moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
  • Engage in brain-stimulating activities, such as reading, playing games, and visiting museums.
  • Follow a variation of the MIND diet.
    “MIND” stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” Encourage people to consume leafy greens, other vegetables, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans, poultry and a glass of wine.
Participants with healthier lifestyles demonstrated lower levels of beta-amyloid plaques, associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lead author Dr. Klodian Dhana emphasized the study’s goal of exploring whether lifestyle choices could influence the development of dementia amid progressive brain changes with age.

Participants with healthier lifestyles demonstrated lower levels of beta-amyloid plaques, associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and scored better on cognitive tests that measure memory and attention span.

The benefits persisted regardless of whether participants showed signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s in their brains, highlighting the lasting impact of adopting these positive lifestyle factors on cognitive well-being.

Published by:

Daphne Clarance

Published in:

February 13, 2024



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