“Over 6 months of follow-up, investigators noted that participants in the intervention group were able to improve their lifestyle and had higher cognition scores than those in the control group.”
Lifestyle improvements may lessen cognitive decline |
Sep, 10, 2020
Wiley – Results from a new study suggest that lifestyle changes may help to improve cognition in older adults experiencing cognitive decline that precedes dementia.
In the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 119 individuals older than 65 years of age who were experiencing cognitive decline were randomized to a control group or an intervention group for 8 weeks.
The control group received online information related to dementia and lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and cognitive engagement. Participants were instructed to implement this information into their own lifestyles.
The intervention group received the same online information, plus active components to assist with implementing this information into their lifestyles: dietitian sessions, an exercise physiologist session, and online brain training.
Over 6 months of follow-up, investigators noted that participants in the intervention group were able to improve their lifestyle and had higher cognition scores than those in the control group.
The results suggest that lifestyle-based changes may modify the course of cognitive decline.
Lead author Mitchell McMaster, a PhD student at The Australian National University, said:
“We’ve known for some time that lifestyle changes such as these can reduce dementia risk in the general population. What this study adds is that with the right intervention, people experiencing cognitive decline may retain sufficient neuroplasticity for their brain to ‘bounce back’ from decline.”
Mr McMaster’s PhD scholarship was supported by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation and the Australian National University, and the study was also supported by Neuroscience Research Australia. Source.
“[I]mprovements in lifestyle risk factors for dementia can lead to improvements in cognition over a short time frame with a population experiencing cognitive decline.”
To evaluate the efficacy of a multidomain intervention to reduce lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and improve cognition in individuals with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) or mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The study was an 8‐week two‐arm single‐blind proof‐of‐concept randomized controlled trial.
Community‐dwelling individuals living in Canberra, Australia, and surrounding areas.
Participants were 119 individuals (intervention n = 57; control n = 62) experiencing SCD or MCI.
The control condition involved four educational modules covering dementia and lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and cognitive engagement. Participants were instructed to implement this information into their own lifestyle. The intervention condition included the same educational modules and additional active components to assist with the implementation of this information into participants’ lifestyles: dietitian sessions, an exercise physiologist session, and online brain training.
Lifestyle risk factors for AD were assessed using the Australian National University‐Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Index (ANU‐ADRI), and cognition was assessed using Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale‐Cognitive subscale, Pfeffer Functional Activities Questionnaire, Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Trail Making Test‐B, and Category Fluency.
The primary analysis showed that the intervention group had a significantly lower ANU‐ADRI score (χ2 = 10.84; df = 3; P = .013) and a significantly higher cognition score (χ2 = 7.28; df = 2; P = .026) than the control group. A secondary analysis demonstrated that the changes in lifestyle were driven by increases in protective lifestyle factors (χ2 = 12.02; df = 3; P = .007), rather than a reduction in risk factors (χ2 = 2.93; df = 3; P = .403), and cognitive changes were only apparent for the SDMT (χ2 = 6.46; df = 2; P = .040). Results were robust to intention‐to‐treat analysis controlling for missing data.
Results support the hypothesis that improvements in lifestyle risk factors for dementia can lead to improvements in cognition over a short time frame with a population experiencing cognitive decline. Outcomes from this trial support the conduct of a larger and longer trial with this participant group.
Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.16762
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) is the go-to journal for clinical aging research. We provide a diverse, interprofessional community of healthcare professionals with the latest insights on geriatrics education, clinical practice, and public policy—all supporting the high-quality, person-centered care essential to our well-being as we age. Since the publication of our first edition in 1953, JAGS has remained one of the oldest and most impactful journals dedicated exclusively to gerontology and geriatrics.
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