Scientists Say Some Activities Might Slow Cognitive Decline

Stop short of recommending public policy efforts

For the first time, researchers say that certain behaviors can prevent cognitive decline. People who stay physically active, control their blood pressure, and partake in cognitive training stand a better chance of staving off dementia than those who don’t, according to a report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. (Cognitive training entails interventions that enhance memory, reasoning, or how fast someone can identify visual information on a screen.)

This is groundbreaking since seven years ago a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality could not find any activities that might stave off or slow down cognitive decline.

Researchers of the latest study are quick to point out that this is far from the final word on the subject.

“Before developing public health strategies that strongly encourage the adoption of cognitive training, blood pressure management, and increased physical activity for the purpose of maintaining cognitive function, additional research is needed to further understand and gain confidence in the effectiveness of these interventions,” the report states.

On the other hand: “The fact that the report does not strongly support a public health campaign focused on actively promoting adoption of any type of intervention should not be taken to reflect a lack of progress or prospects for preventing or delaying the discussed conditions.”

Source: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine