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New study finds that older Americans may improve memory by exercising their brains and bodies

New research released today at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's Annual Meeting found that older Americans may improve their memory by making simple lifestyle changes including memory exercises, physical fitness, healthy eating and stress reduction. The study was conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and funded by the Fran and Ray Stark Foundation Fund for Alzheimer's Disease Research, the Judith Olenick Elgart Fund for Research on Brain Aging, and the Parlow-Solomon Professorship on Aging.

"We've known for years that diet and exercise can help people maintain their physical health, which is a key component of healthy aging," says lead investigator, Gary Small, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, " But maintaining mental health is just as important. Now we have evidence which suggests that people can preserve their memory by adding memory exercises and stress reduction to this routine."

The study was the first to test the impact of combining memory exercises and stress reduction with a healthy diet and exercise to improve memory. In the 14-day study, subjects with normal baseline memory performance scores were randomly assigned to two groups (sample size of 17 individuals). In the test group, subjects following a memory improvement plan which included:

  • Memory Training Brainteasers, crossword puzzles and memory exercises, which emphasized verbal skills, were conducted throughout the day to stimulate the brain.
  • Healthy Diet Participants ate five meals daily, which included a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fats, low-glycemic index carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains) and antioxidants. Eating five small meals throughout the day prevents dips in blood glucose levels and glucose is the primary energy source for the brain.
  • Physical Fitness Brisk daily walks and stretching were done daily
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Contact: Jessica Rowlands
jrowlands@gymr.com
202-745-5059
GYMR
12-Dec-2005


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