Healthy lifestyle improves memory in old age: study
11 Jun 2018, 22:31
A Finnish study shows that a healthy lifestyle, including physical exercises, brain stimulants and healthy diet can improve brain health and prevent late-age memory disorders, a Finnish language daily Helsingin Sanomat reported on Monday.
The study was conducted by a research group led by professor Mila Kivipelto at the University of Eastern Finland.
A total of 1,262 Finns, who were over the age of 60 and had an increased risk for memory disorders, participated in the study as part of a research project called the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER).
Half of the participants were given intensive lifestyle guidance developed by the research team, including dietary and exercise instructions as well as ways to help prevent cardiovascular diseases, while the control group were provided with standard lifestyle advice.
After two years, clear differences were found between the two groups. The control group had nearly 30 percent of the increased risk of deteriorating memory functions, while those who received intensive guidance had improved mental ability and physical performance.
Kivipelto told the daily that the participants who received the intensive guidance felt that their quality of life had improved, and the risk of other diseases decreased markedly.
She added that there has not been any medicine that would have had such effects as the intensive guidance had produced, even though medicines might be developed in the future.
According to Kivipelto's suggestion, exercises should be diversified, including both aerobic and muscle exercises; Brain stimulants should include reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing chess and learning languages; diet should be light and varied and balanced, including lots of vegetables, fruits, berries, fish and less red meat.
In addition, social activity is also included in the intensive lifestyle guidance.
Kivipelto said that the elderly memory disorders are a global challenge. At present, some 47 million people in the world suffer from memory disorder, the most common of which is Alzheimer's. The amount doubles every 20 years.
The Finnish model of intensive lifestyle guidance is set to be introduced to some other countries in the world.