New Report Suggests Ways to Prevent Dementia From Developing

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Doing three simple things may help keep dementia at bay, a new report indicates.

According to USA Today a report published on Thursday by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) finds that there is evidence that cognitive training, increasing physical activity and managing blood pressure may help prevent age-related dementia and cognitive decline.

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These findings are similar to what the Alzheimer’s Association found two years ago. The organization published their own findings in 2015 and found two specific things that could help minimize risk.

“They were increasing physical activity and improving cardiovascular health,” Keith Fargo, director of Scientific Programs and Outreach for the Alzheimer’s Association said.

“What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” Dan Blazer, a member of NASEM who conducted the study said. “Therefore, exercise and controlling high blood pressure are good for the brain.”

In addition to physical activity and blood pressure control, cognitive training is getting a lot of attention as a prevention tool as well. Cognitive training refers to programs aimed at improving problem-solving, memory, processing speed and reasoning. In some cases, these programs and activities can be computer-based. Previous studies have shown some promise among those who participated in cognitive training, though more study is needed.

“Cognitive training is an area worthy of looking forward,” Blazer explained.

Even with more research needed, Fargo stressed that the public at large should take away one clear message from the study.

“There are things that you can do to reduce your risk,” he said. “You can take your own cognitive health and brain health into your hands. You can affect it in a positive way.”

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