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Physical Activity Inversely Linked with Dementia

Alzheimers Dement; ePub 2018 Oct 12; Palta, et al

Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) is a readily modifiable factor associated inversely with long-term dementia incidence and cognitive decline, according to a recent study. A total of 10,705 participants (mean age: 60 years) had LTPA (no, low, middle, or high) measured in 1987-1989 and 1993-1995. LTPA was assessed in relation to incident dementia and 14-year change in general cognitive performance. Researchers found:

  • Over a median follow-up of 17.4 years, 1,063 dementia cases were observed.
  • Compared with no LTPA, high LTPA in midlife was associated with lower incidence of dementia and lower declines in general cognitive performance (−0.07 standard deviation difference [−0.12 to −0.04]).
  • These associations were stronger when measured against persistence of midlife LTPA over 6 years.


Palta P, Sharrett AR, Deal JA, et al. Leisure-time physical activity sustained since midlife and preservation of cognitive function: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study cohort. [Published online ahead of print October 12, 2018]. Alzheimers Dement. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.08.008.