In a new study, researchers found several things can help older people maintain healthy memory and avoid memory decline.
The finding may help develop new ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
The research was conducted by University of Alberta neuroscientists.
People who are 55 and older may have a higher risk of memory loss and cognitive decline, which could be the first signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
But it is possible to prevent diseases through early intervention efforts.
In the new study, the team used machine learning to analyze data from a long-term study based in Edmonton.
They found that older people with healthy memory were more likely to be female, educated and engaged in more social activities, such as hosting a dinner party.
In addition, these people were more likely to engage in new cognitive activities, such as using a computer or learning a second language.
The team also found that for adults aged 55 to 75, healthy memory was linked to lower heart rate, higher BMI, more self-maintenance activities, and living companions.
For adults over 75, healthy memory was linked to faster gait and fewer depressive symptoms.
On the contrary, people with declining memory tended to do fewer new cognitive activities.
For adults aged 55 to 75, declining memory was linked to higher heart rates and fewer self-maintenance activities.
For adults over age 75, declining memory was linked to a slower gait and fewer social activities.
The findings have important implications for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
The team suggests that these modifiable risk and protective factors may be converted to potential intervention methods for promoting healthy memory aging.
They can also help prevent or delay cognitive decline, impairment and perhaps dementia
The lead author of the study is Peggy McFall, a U of A research associate.
The study is published in Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
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