Regular Exercise, Vitamins, Brain Training, Or A Healthy Diet Can't Prevent Dementia: Study

There is no method that has been proven to prevent the occurrence of dementia later in life, according to an analysis of numerous studies.

A team of researchers from the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center wanted to see whether vitamins and supplements, brain training, prescription medications, or physical activity can help in preventing dementia.

The researchers wanted to analyze possible interventions for dementia because the number of dementia patients is expected to rise sharply as the population ages.

The team, however, found that none of the interventions was successful and nothing seemed to prevent the condition after analyzing four systematic reviews and their findings. The researchers published their paper in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Physical Activity

To conduct the first study, the team analyzed data from 16 trials that compared exercise with no activity. They did not find enough proof to be able to make a conclusion about the impact of tai chi, resistance training, or aerobics for cognition improvement.

The researchers, however, found low-strength evidence that a combination of varied kinds of interventions simultaneously such as cognitive training, diet, and physical activity improved the allover cognitive test performance.

Prescription Drugs

The team also analyzed data from 51 trials that compared the impact of prescription medication on cognitive outcomes. The evidence was not supportive of using any of the pharmacologic treatments that were studied like hormones, aspirin, or agents that lowered lipids, NSAIDs, diabetes, antihypertensives, and dementia medications, which were used for cognitive protection.

Brain Training

The team further reviewed 11 trials of adults with either mild cognitive impairment or normal cognition at the time of enrollment. It also found insufficient proof that brain training exercises could fight off mental affliction.

Vitamins And Other Supplements

In addition, the team analyzed 38 trials to compare the counter supplements like beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin D plus calcium, B vitamins, ginkgo biloba, soy, omega-3 fatty acids, and multi-ingredient supplements.

The researchers compared them with either intervention for delaying or preventing cognitive decline as well as a placebo supplement. However, they did not get enough evidence to indicate that any of the supplements were effective.

Conclusion Of The Study

The reason for the failure of the interventions is not quite clear, according to the research team. They said it was possible that the interventions were not effective for improving cognition. It is also likely that the studies started on the measures when it was already too late in the afflicted person’s life, or they did not use them long enough.

The researchers also suggested that though there was no proof regarding whether an intervention to follow a healthy lifestyle early on in life prevents dementia or cognitive decline, it is not likely to make cognition worse and could have other benefits for health.

“There is no sure way to prevent dementia and, as these studies show, we have not yet found a successful way to reduce cases of the condition,” said James Pickett, head of research at Alzheimer’s Society.

Pickett added, however, that studies analyzing natural lifestyle differences like smoking, diet, and exercise show that such factors have a part in determining the dementia risk a person has.

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