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HHS HealthBeat (March 19, 2013)

Middle-aged aerobics and older brains

Older adults stretching.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that people who stay aerobically fit in middle age might be less likely to develop dementia later. At the Cooper Institute in Dallas, researchers saw this in 24 years of data on about 20,000 people. Researcher Laura DeFina:

“With increasing cardiorespiratory fitness levels, there was decreased development of all-cause dementia in later life.”

For instance, people in the fittest 20 percent around age 50 were 36 percent less likely than those in the least-fit 20 percent to be diagnosed with dementia after age 65.

DeFina notes other studies have found better blood flow in brains of fitter people.

The report in Annals of Internal Medicine was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 19, 2013