Expert Panel: Three Things May Save Your Brain

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Expert Panel: Three Things May Save Your Brain
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In 2017, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a report entitled Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia which highlights three measures to reduce cognitive decline including cognitive training, increase in physical activity, and control of blood pressure. [1] The 149-page report was the result of an evaluation of hundreds of randomized clinical trials, which experts consider as the gold standard for scientific research. These forms of trials can give the most robust and unbiased results. [2]

The stakeholders behind the report wanted to provide the public with accurate information about the potential impact of the three measures mentioned above. So, a panel of health experts focused on the strength of evidence and quality of hundreds of dementia prevention studies. They examined the most recent evidence on ways to prevent, slow, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s-type dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

According to Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute of Aging, their report is an instructive tool for what they can tell the public now on the approaches that may save the brain from dementia, as research continues to seek ways to prevent dementia and cognitive decline with age.

The researchers admitted that their evidence is modest, but there are also reasons to believe these strategies might help. Two of them are good for other things that people do or that they could suffer from. That includes controlling blood pressure for people with hypertension and engaging in physical exercise.

The three promising areas for future dementia research are outlined below:

1. Cognitive Training

This measure involves structured programs that could enhance reasoning, problem-solving, and memory. However, these programs are not yet proven to prevent or slow dementia. The panel unearthed evidence that cognitive training can improve performance in the short term. Still, the researchers cited the potential of this measure to improve the long-term mental function of healthy adults. [3]

2. Lowering High Blood Pressure

The experts concluded that managing blood pressure does not only reduce the risk of stroke but also the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. There is available evidence on the role of lowering high blood pressure in preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s disease. [4]

3. Increased Physical Activity

Their evidence is sufficient to promote the value of increased physical activity for delaying or slowing age-related cognitive decline. [5] The report mentions the health benefits offered by physical activity including preventing stroke, which is related to brain health.

Further Reading:

Top 20 Best Foods For Your Brain

Biggest Brain Damaging Habits You Must Know

7 Top Tips To Fight Brain Aging


[1] The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. June 22, 2017. Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward.

[2] Kupfer C. 1982. Japanese Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology. Randomized clinical trial.

[3] Linda Clare and Bob Woods. October 20, 2003. Cognitive rehabilitation and cognitive training for early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

[4] Rita Moretti, Paola Torre, Rodolfo M Antonello, Davide Manganaro, Cristina Vilotti, and Gilberto Pizzolato. April 2008. Vascular Health and Risk Management. Risk factors for vascular dementia: Hypotension as a key point.

[5] Yonas E. Geda, MD, MSc, Rosebud O. Roberts, MB ChB, MS, David S. Knopman, MD, Teresa J.H. Christianson, BSc, V. Shane Pankratz, PhD, Robert J. Ivnik, PhD, Bradley F. Boeve, MD, Eric G. Tangalos, MD, Ronald C. Petersen, MD, PhD, and Walter A. Rocca, MD, MP. January 2010. Archives of Neurology. Physical Exercise and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study.

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