The National Institute for Health & Care Experience (NICE) is urging GPs to exploit a “window of opportunity” when people retire or have grandchildren to encourage them to eat better and exercise more.
At a time when people might be noticing signs of poor health they may not realise that lack of exercise can increase their risk of dementia.
A new study has shown that getting people to exercise their mind and bodies as they approach old age can stave off dementia. A sample of 1,260 aged 60-77 at risk of dementia were given a programme of moderate exercise, memory and word puzzles plus dietary advice. This group declined more slowly than those who didn’t take the programme.
The study was carried out at the Finnish National Institute for Health & Welfare and the results presented to a conference on Alzheimer’s held in Copenhagen.
Meanwhile scientists at Oxford University have concluded that taking vitamins doesn’t do you any good and taking them to help stave off dementia is a waste of money.
B vitamins fail to slow mental decline and don’t prevent dementia. You’d be better off going for a walk and eating more fruit and vegetables.
People taking supplements score no better on tests of memory, speed or decision-making than those taking placebos in 11 different trials of 22,000 people.
Millions of people spend £10 a pack on vitamins believing that they will help stave off dementia, heart disease or stroke – all to no avail.
However trials with an anti-arthritis drug suggest that it might slow down Alzheimer’s disease. People with mild to moderate Alzhemer’s maintained their mental abilities over 6 months while those on a placebo declined.
The drug, etanercept, may be available for dementia patients in five years if larger clinical trials support the early results discovered at the University of Southampton.
Finally research in Germany shows that playing games, including video games, can increase the size of your brain.