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Can lifestyle changes reduce cognitive decline? Australian study explores

Photo: izusek/iStockphoto

Canberra, Australia — Lifestyle changes may help curb cognitive decline in older adults, results of a recent study suggest.

The study involved 119 people at least 66 years old who were experiencing cognitive decline. The participants were randomly placed into a control group and an intervention group over an eight-week period. The former group received information on dementia, lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity and cognitive engagement, while the latter group got the same information as well as dietitian sessions, an exercise physiologist session and online cognitive training.

During a six-month follow-up period, the intervention group scored higher on cognitive tests than the control group.

“We’ve known for some time that lifestyle changes such as these can reduce dementia risk in the general population,” lead researcher Mitchell McMaster, a doctoral student at The Australian National University, said in a recent press release. “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.”

The study was published online in September in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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