Thursday, October 14, 2010
Short walk could cut dementia risk
Walking six miles a week could help to prevent brain shrinkage and protect people against dementia. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh studied 299 people, none of whom had dementia at the start of the study asking them how much walking they did in a week. Nine years later they took brain scans of the participants to measure their brain size and after four more years they were tested to see if they had developed cognitive impairment or dementia. After nine years people who walked between six and nine miles a week had greater grey matter volume than people who walked less, although walking more than this had no beneficial effect. Four years later 40% of the participants had developed cognitive impairment or dementia, however, those who walked the most cut their risk of developing memory problems in half.