Memory Research News in Lifestyle

Lifestyle changes can prevent cognitive decline even in genetically at-risk individuals

  • A large study indicates that lifestyle changes, together with advice and support for managing vascular health, can help prevent cognitive decline even in carriers of the Alzheimer's gene.

A Finnish study involving over 1000 older adults suggests that a counselling program can prevent cognitive decline even among those with the Alzheimer’s gene.

The study involved 1,109 older adults (aged 60-77) of whom 362 were carriers of the APOE4 gene. Some of the participants received regular lifestyle counselling (general health advice), while the rest received “enhanced” lifestyle counselling, involving nutrition counselling, physical and cognitive exercises, and support in managing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Earlier findings from the FINGER (Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability) trial showed that the regular lifestyle counselling group had a significantly increased risk of cognitive and functional impairment compared to the group receiving enhanced counselling. This analysis shows that this holds true even for those with the Alzheimer's gene, and indeed, might even be more helpful for carriers of the risky gene.

The findings emphasize the importance of early prevention strategies that target multiple modifiable risk factors simultaneously.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-01/uoef-lcp012518.php

Reference: 

[4330] Solomon A, Turunen H, Ngandu T, Peltonen M, Levälahti E, Helisalmi S, Antikainen R, Bäckman L, Hänninen T, Jula A, et al. Effect of the Apolipoprotein E Genotype on Cognitive Change During a Multidomain Lifestyle Intervention: A Subgroup Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Neurology [Internet]. 2018 ;75(4):462 - 470. Available from: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/2670443

Muscular strength linked to brain health & cognitive function

  • A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength is associated with brain health and cognitive performance, including among schizophrenics.

A British study using data from 475,397 participants has shown that, on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used. Tests looked at reaction speed, reasoning, visuospatial memory, prospective memory, and working memory (digit span). The relationship between muscular strength and brain function was consistently strong in both older and younger adults (those under 55 and those over), contradicting previous research showing it only in older adults.

The study also found that maximal handgrip was strongly correlated with both visuospatial memory and reaction time in 1,162 people with schizophrenia (prospective memory also approached statistical significance).

The finding raises the intriguing possibility that weight training could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/nwsu-rrs041918.php

Full text available online at https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby034

Reference: 

[4329] Firth J, Stubbs B, Vancampfort D, Firth JA, Large M, Rosenbaum S, Hallgren M, Ward PB, Sarris J, Yung AR. Grip Strength Is Associated With Cognitive Performance in Schizophrenia and the General Population: A UK Biobank Study of 476559 Participants. Schizophrenia Bulletin [Internet]. Submitted . Available from: https://academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/advance-article/doi/10.1093/schbul/sby034/4942313