Source: Spring 2009 Connections Newsletter Accessed at www.nih.gov May 2009
Physical inactivity and mental inactivity are associated with cognitive decline. Now researchers are using imaging and other methods to demonstrate that lifestyle changes and exercise can improve the quality of life for AD patients.
Researchers using MRI and other neuroimaging techniques found a direct link between the size of the hippocampus of the brain and cardiovascular fitness in early-AD patients. The more fit the AD patient, the larger the hippocampus.
Metabolic syndrome, a group of heart disease risk factors that includes abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, and low HDL cholesterol, may play a role in cognitive decline with age. Older people with the syndrome had an almost 35 percent lower level of cognitive performance than did similarly aged people free of the disorder.
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