Brain training, diet and exercise may help maintain mental sharpness in older people

A Finnish study has suggested that a healthy diet, plenty of exercise and brain training can help older people avoid experiencing a mental decline. 1

The research was carried out at several universities across Scandinavia over a two-year period, and examined around 1,200 people three times throughout the trial. Half of the group was put on a programme that included guidance on their diet, exercise, and brain training activities such as Sudoku. The other half was simply given general health advice and acted as a control group for the study.

Researchers found that brain function in the group included in the programme overall was 25% higher than the control group, and one part of the test, which studied the brain’s ability to organise and regulate thought process, was 83% higher.

These statistics are very encouraging, although we do not know if people developed dementia over a longer period of time from this test, so more work is required. However, these results back up the idea of many experts, who suggest that keeping active physically and mentally may help reduce dementia risk as we get older.

Reference

1 Ngandu T, Lehtisalo J, Solomon A, et al. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. Published online March 11 2015

Headlines

1 Dancing, Sudoku, fish and fruit – the keys to a mentally alert old age. The Guardian, March 12 2015

How diet, exercise and social activity can delay dementia: Study finds living a healthy lifestyle can boost brainpower by a quarter. Daily Mail, March 12 2015

Proof that dementia risk can be reduced by improving lifestyle. The Independent, March 12 2015

Want to know how to ward off dementia? We have the tips on how you can. Daily Mirror, March 12 2015