Healthier Living Better for Brain Function

Tuesday, 02 August 2011 09:45 AM

Taking care of your health by watching your weight and quitting smoking is not just good for your heart and lungs. A new study suggests that a healthier lifestyle will stave off brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.

Health problems including being overweight, smoking, having diabetes, and high blood pressure likely put middle-aged people at an increased risk of brain shrinkage and decline in planning and decision-making skills, WebMD.com reports.

“Our findings provide evidence that identifying these risk factors early in people of middle age could be useful in screening people for at-risk dementia and encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyle before it’s too late,” says Dr. Charles DeCarli, of the University of California-Davis in Sacramento, a researcher involved with the study published in Neurology.

Study participants, whose average age was 54, were given tests to determine risk factors such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and others. They also periodically underwent brain scans. Those people with high blood pressure developed areas of blood vessel damage in the brain more quickly than participants with normal blood pressure levels, the study found. They also performed more poorly on decision-making and planning tests.

Smokers, people with diabetes, and those who were overweight also were more likely to experience faster losses in brain volume.

For more study details and to read the complete WebMD.com story, Go Here.

© HealthDay

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Tuesday, 02 August 2011 09:45 AM
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