Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Look after your brain

Date:
February 21, 2011
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
As the average life span becomes longer, dementia becomes more common. Swedish scientists have shown that everyone can minimize his or her risk of being affected. Factors from blood pressure and weight to the degree of physical and mental activity can influence cognitive functioning as one gets older.

As the average life span becomes longer, dementia becomes more common. Swedish scientist Laura Fratiglioni has shown that everyone can minimize his or her risk of being affected. Factors from blood pressure and weight to the degree of physical and mental activity can influence cognitive functioning as one gets older.

The lengthening of the average life span in the population has caused an increase in the prevalence of aging related disorders, one of which is cognitive impairment and dementia. An expert panel estimates that worldwide more than 24 million people are affected by dementia, most suffering from Alzheimer's disease. In the more developed countries, 70 percent of the persons with dementia are 75 years or older. Age is the greatest risk factor for developing dementia. But there is growing evidence that the strong association with increasing age can be, at least partially, explained by a life course cumulative exposure to different risk factors.

Laura Fratiglioni's research group at Karolinska Institutet is a leader in identifying the risk factors that lie behind developing dementia and using this knowledge to develop possible preventative strategies. The group's research has shown that the risk is partly determined by an individual genetic susceptibility, and that active involvement in mental, physical and social activities can delay the onset of dementia by preserving cognitive functions. Further education early in life has a protective effect, and the group's research has shown that it is never too late to get started.

"The brain, just as other parts of the body, requires stimulation and exercise in order to continue to function. Elderly people with an active life -- mentally, physically and socially -- run a lower risk of developing dementia, and it doesn't matter what the particular activities are," says Professor Laura Fratiglioni.

Laura Fratiglioni's research has shown that physical factors are also significant. Not only high and low blood pressure, but also diabetes and obesity when middle-aged increase the risk of developing dementia after the age of 70. "What is good for the heart is good for the brain," she says.

Knowledge about risk factors and how to protect the brain from dementia is based on observational studies in which scientists have discovered statistical correlations in the population. Scientists in other current studies that are carried out in Europe are investigating what happens when a large number of study participants are given special help to better control vascular risk factors and to stimulate social, physical and mental activities. which should, at least, lead to a delay of dementia onset.

"You could say that we are progressing from observation to experiment. This means that in a few years we will know more about which strategies are most effective in preventing neurodegenerative disorders," says Laura Fratiglioni.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Karolinska Institutet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Look after your brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110220142811.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2011, February 21). Look after your brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110220142811.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Look after your brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110220142811.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins