Midlife interventions help preserve later cognitive function




Midlife interventions including physical activity, hypertension control, and maintaining healthy HDL cholesterol may ward off later cognitive decline, reported Cassandra Szoeke, Ph.D., of the Centre for Medical Research at the University of Melbourne, and her colleagues.

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In a study of 387 patients from the Women’s Healthy Ageing Project, investigators collected neuropsychiatric assessments, clinical data, and biomarkers at baseline, with at least three follow-up visits and one cognitive reassessment over 20 years. Dr. Szoeke and her colleagues used mixed linear models to analyze the significance of risk factors on verbal memory. The mean age of participants was 49.6 years.

Results showed that cumulative mid- to late-life physical activity had the strongest effect on better verbal memory later in life, the authors said in the report. The next most likely contributors were the negative effect of cumulative hypertension and the beneficial effect of HDL cholesterol.

The findings indicate that “physical activity, hypertension control, and achieving optimal levels of HDL cholesterol will help maintain later-life verbal memory skills,” Dr. Szoeke and her colleagues wrote.

Read the full report in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry:

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