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A 'Heart Healthy' Diet and Ongoing, Moderate Physical Activity May Protect Against Cognitive Decline as We Age
Date:7/14/2009

productive years, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, parity, and periods of amenorrhea, the researchers found that long-term strenuous activity was consistently associated with poorer performance on all eight of the tests; with statistically significant results on tests of semantic memory, working memory, delayed verbal recall, and sustained attention (p <0.05). Moderate physical activity was consistently associated with better performance on all eight of the tests, with statistically significant results on cognitive flexibility, working memory, and sustained attention (p <0.05).

"Our results suggest that long-term strenuous activity may increase the risk of cognitive impairment in recently postmenopausal women," Tierney said. "On the other hand, moderate long-term physical activity may improve later life cognition. These preliminary findings have important implications for women's health and support the need for large-scale studies including both women and men."

Alzheimer's Risk Gene May Reduce Benefits of Physical Activity to Cognitive Ability

While the relationship of physical activity with cognitive performance as we age is a subject of considerable research, much less is known about how this relationship is impacted by the Alzheimer's risk gene Apolipoprotein E (APOE). The APOE gene comes in three types, or alleles, known as e2, e3, and e4. Each person gets one type of APOE from each parent, making the possible combinations: e2/e2, e2/e3, e2/e4, e3/e3, e3/e4, e4/e4. Having two copies of e4 conveys the highest risk for Alzheimer's; having one e4 also raises one's risk. E3 is the most common type. E2, though rare, is thought to be protective.

Thomas Obisesan, MD, MPH, FAAFP, Chief of the Division of Geriatrics at HowardUniversityHospital and professor of medicine at Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined this issue using da
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Association
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