Physically Fit Women Nearly 90% Less Likely To Develop Dementia

avatarby Platinum NaturalsLast updated May 18, 2018Category: Hot Topics

There is an observed link between physical activity and the protection of cognitive function as we age, but few high quality, long-term, randomized or prospective studies exist. The objective of this study was to determine whether greater cardiovascular fitness in midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia in women followed for 44 years.

STUDY PARTICULARS

191 women 38 to 60 years of age were examined in 1968. Cardiovascular fitness was evaluated using a stepwise-increased maximal ergometer cycling test. Examinations of dementia were performed in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2005 and 2009. Dementia cases developing  post 2012 were identified through hospital records, registry data and informant interviews. Dementia was diagnosed according to DSM-III-R criteria on the basis of information from neuropsychiatric examination.

WHAT THIS STUDY ADDS

Women with high physical fitness during middle age were nearly 90% less likely to develop dementia decades later compared to women who had poor or moderate fitness levels during middle age.
When highly fit women did develop dementia, they developed the disease an average of 11 years later than women who were less fit during midlife.

Almost half of women who were unable to complete the fitness test due to physical problems developed dementia decades later. 

These findings suggest that improving your cardiovascular fitness in middle
age may delay or even prevent the development of dementia.

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Horder, H., Johansson, L., Guo, X. Grimby, G., Kern, S., Ostling, S., and Skoog, I. (2018) Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia. Neurology doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000005290 (published ahead of print March 14 2018).

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