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Good physical function linked to Alzheimer's delay

"These results suggest that in aging, there's a close link between the mind and body," said Larson. "Physical and mental performance may go hand in hand, and anything you can do to improve one is likely to improve the other." If people notice that they are starting to decline physically, he said, reengaging in physical activity may help them to stop or slow this decline--and reduce their risk of early cognitive worsening.

On the other hand, he said, it is still possible for people who have physical constraints, even paralysis, to stay mentally alert and cognitively fit. Other studies have suggested that staying busy with nonphysical leisure activities and learning new things may also help delay the onset of dementia. Also, "healthy body, healthy mind" is probably only part of the story, he added: Other elements likely include social support and positive mood.


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Contact: Rebecca Hughes
hughes.r@ghc.org
206-287-2653
Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies
22-May-2006


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