Coffee, regular exercise in seniors may reduce dementia risk

The Orlando (FL) Sentinel reports, “Getting regular exercise and drinking coffee have both been shown to reduce the risk of dementia in seniors, and two recent studies help show why.”

In one study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, researchers used PET scans to find that “typical caffeine doses result in a high A1 adenosine receptor occupancy,” which may explain why caffeine appears to be protective against neurodegenerative diseases.

Focusing on the second study, HealthDay reports, “Older people who exercise regularly may reduce their risk of dementia and help keep their minds sharp,” according to a study published in the journal Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Researchers “had more than 600 men and women in their 60s and 70s undergo brain scans at the start and end of the study to look for changes that indicate declining mental function. Almost two-thirds of the participants took exercise classes, walked or biked for 30 minutes a day three times a week.”

MedPage Today reports, “Even after adjustment for white matter changes seen on MRI and history of stroke, those who met criteria for physical activity had significantly lower risks of developing any cognitive impairment, any dementia, and vascular dementia over a three-year period,” the study found.

“The relationship between physical activity and vascular dementia remained significant after further adjustment for baseline cognitive function (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.94), the researchers reported.” Important to note, however, is that “physical activity was not…related to Alzheimer’s disease risk.”

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