Mental Exercise May Help Keep Seniors Sharp04/15/13
MONDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- Mental exercise can help
prevent thinking and memory decline in seniors, but evidence for
the benefits of supplements and exercise is weak, according to a
The findings were published in the
CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
The researchers reviewed 32 studies, including three that
examined the effects of mental exercise involving computerized
training programs or intensive one-on-one personal training in
memory, reasoning or processing speed.
One of the studies found significant improvements in
participants' memory over five years of follow-up. Another found an
improvement in auditory memory and attention, according to a
journal news release.
Supplements such as gingko, vitamins, dehydroepiandrosterone
(DHEA) and other substances, however, appeared to provide no
benefit. The same was true for physical exercise. Estrogen was
associated with an increase in mental decline and dementia.
"This review provides some evidence to help clinicians and their patients address what strategies might prevent cognitive decline," wrote Dr. Raza Naqvi, of the division of geriatric medicine at the University of Toronto, and co-authors. "Future studies should address the impact of cognitive training on the prevention of cognitive decline, and we encourage researchers to consider easily accessible tools such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku that have not been rigorously studied."
Mild cognitive impairment affects 10 percent to 25 percent of
people over age 70, according to the news release.
The Alzheimer's Association has more about
mild cognitive impairment.
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