A study presented Wednesday at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting suggests that regular physical exercise may offer a protective benefit against mild cognitive impairment.
How cognitively impaired are we talking here? Think forgetting where you left your keys, remembering events, appointments, or to check Mark’s Daily Apple every day (as if you could ever forget that!) or recalling the details of a conversation.
Conducted as part of an ongoing study of aging, researchers from the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic surveyed 868 people ages 70 to 89 about their exercise habits between ages 50 and 65. Researchers also screened all participants for signs of mild cognitive impairment.
Sorry, we’re not talking about how to politely show your Aunt Mildred how much you appreciate her tomato jello mold. Research from the Agricultural Research Service suggests that eating antioxidant rich foods such as berries with each meal can neutralize the free radicals inevitably created by the oxidative stress of regular digestion.
As if you needed another reason to eat your fruits and veggies…
A study published online in this month’s Neurology suggests that people whose waistline expands once they hit age 40 are more likely to develop dementia in their 70s than their slimmer peers.
For the study, researchers measured the abdominal fat of 6,583 people between the ages of 40 and 45 living in Northern California. After an average of 36 years, 16% of participants had developed dementia.
Based on this data, the researchers determined that those with the highest abdominal fat measurements were roughly three times more likely to develop dementia than those with the lowest levels of abdominal fat. These findings held true regardless of whether the individual was of normal weight overall, overweight or obese, although the researchers note that future dementia risk was highest among obese individuals with high abdominal fat measurements. According to researchers, women were more likely than men to have high abdominal fat levels, along with non-whites, those with less than a high school level of education, smokers, and people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
One of the standard defenses uttered by those who desperately cling to the fast food and couch-potato lifestyle is, “why should I live like a hunter-gatherer? Their average lifespan was only 35 years.” Ipso fatso, if we clearly weren’t designed to live long, why make all those diet and exercise sacrifices?” This common faulty assumption that our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived “nasty, brutish and short” lives has always bugged me. Research suggests that Grok and his family were actually generally healthy (robust is the term), productive – and even so appreciative of their lives that they felt the need to express themselves through art. There are recent studies that suggest there may even have been a selective benefit within tribal units for grandparents – meaning that getting older may have actually had a selective benefit far past procreating. So, if they were so robust and if our genes truly evolved to allow us to live long lives, then why was the average lifespan relatively short? I had always assumed that it was things like deaths during childbirth, infections, accidental poisoning, even tribal warfare that brought the average lifespan down. But then I got a real-life experience of what might have affected the average more than anything else. And it’s really mundane, folks.
I would like to encourage you to do more on the sexual benefits of living well. In my practice, I am astonished and saddened to hear about the lack of sex people over 50 are having with their partners. It goes well beyond just ED. It has to do with fatigue, low libido, poor body image and difficulties with positioning due to BMI. I hate to be so frank about it, but it is true and I feel it is very important. I hope that you/we can spend more time addressing this highly personal, highly important topic.
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