“These findings highlight the importance of walking in assessing dementia risk,” wrote corresponding author Taya Collier, a research fellow at the Peninsula Clinical School at Monash University in Victoria, Australia.
‘Double loser stocks’ at the highest risk
The new study followed a group of Americans over 65 and Australians over 70 for seven years. Every two years, the subjects in the study were asked to take cognitive tests that measured general cognitive decline, memory, processing speed, and verbal fluency.
Twice every two years, the participants were also asked to walk 3 metres, or about 10 feet. The two scores were then averaged to determine a person’s typical walking manner.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the highest risk of dementia was for “extremely impaired people,” or people who not only walked more slowly but also showed some signs of cognitive decline, said Dr. Joe Verghese, professor of geriatrics and neurology. at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New YorkAnd the who did not participate in the study.
“Furthermore, people with losers were more likely to develop dementia than those with cognitive decline or walking alone,” Verghese wrote in an accompanying editorial published Tuesday in JAMA.
But despite these findings, Verges writes, “dystocia has not been considered an early clinical feature in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Exercise may help
The hippocampus, buried deep in the brain’s temporal lobe, is a peculiarly shaped organ responsible for learning, memory consolidation, and spatial navigation, such as the ability to remember directions, locations, and orientations.
Aerobic means with “air,” a type of exercise in which your heart rate and breathing increase, but not so much that you can’t continue to do your job. Types of aerobic exercise can include brisk walking, swimming, running, cycling, dancing, and kickboxing, as well as all the cardio machines at your local gym, such as a treadmill, exercise machine, rowing machine, or ladder climber.