"Our business model has been to improve your neurocognitive function by improving your cardiovascular risk," said senior study author James Blumenthal, clinical psychologist at Duke University. "They improve brain health while improving heart health."
"You can do something for a better brain today," said Isaacson, who was not involved in the research. [1
The study was a first, said Blumenthal, who has long studied the effects of diet and exercise on depression and overall heart health.
"I do not think there is another study that looked at separately and in combination has effects of exercise and diet on slowing cognitive decline in patients who may become ill with dementia later in life, "he said.
The study involved 160 adults who had high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risks Diseases suffered and never exercised  and cognitive concerns such as difficulty in decision making, remembering or concentration has been demonstrated The participants were an average age of 65, two-thirds female and equally divided into whites and minorities. People who have been diagnosed with dementia or have been unable to exercise have been excluded.
A second group trained, but was not encouraged to diet. For the first three months, this group was overseen at a cardiac rehabilitation facility where they performed no-stress exercises three times a week. In the last three months of the study, this group practiced completing compliance protocols monitored by researchers at home.
The third group did both: they trained three times a week and followed the DASH diet. The fourth group only received advice on how to reduce their cardiovascular risk during a 30-minute conversation with a health educator, but was told not to change their eating and exercise habits.
Before the participant began their assigned path, participants went through a series of cognitive tests. a treadmill load and an analysis of the diet. In addition, her blood pressure, blood sugar and lipids were recorded. The tests were repeated at the end of the study.
Change in only six months
The group that only trained saw significantly greater improvements in their leadership abilities than the group that did not move.
"19659005" "The results showed that controlled aerobic activity in a very short period of time can have a significant impact on the part of the brain that causes people to take care of themselves, pay their bills and "You can not only improve, you can improve within six months!"
Blumenthal remarked, "Remember, these are older adults who are completely sedentary and have noticed cognitive impairment , We had no dropouts and everyone could stand the training program and do it alone. That was great.
The group that followed the no-movement DASH diet did not show any statistically significant improvement in thinking skills, but both Blumenthal and Iscaason emphasized that they had only missed it by a small margin.
"I would be careful if I said the diet did not help, because I think it was likely," said Isaacson. "While the brain is in a separate compartment, it is still part of the body, and anything that affects the body also affects the brain."
However, it was the group that combined exercise and DASH diet that saw the greatest benefit. This group had on average around 47 points in the general tests of leadership skills, compared with 42 points in those who only trained and about 38 points in those who were told that they should not change their eating and exercise habits , In fact, the group that did both diet and exercise reversed their brain aging by nine years.
How it works, said Blumenthal: At the beginning of the trial scam the average score of the group is 93 years on average, which is 28 years older than their average age of 65 years.
However, after only six months of training and following the DASH diet, her executive function improved by nine years and reduced her mental age to 84 years.
The executive function of the control group decreased by six months, or the duration of the period. This was to be expected without interventions, Blumenthal said.
No Improvement of Memory
Unfortunately, none of the groups had an improvement in memory. That's not surprising, said Isaacson.
"We can improve leadership functions faster through lifestyle interventions, but it takes longer for the memory to intervene," he said. "It could be that the memory would have improved if this study had continued for 18 months or used another form of brain diet."
What is needed now are more studies, Isaacson added, "If we could get several centers to do studies together in multiple locations, we will learn more."
Because those who combined diet and exercise did With the greatest improvements, it may be that multiple lifestyle changes, not just diet and exercise, are needed to maximize success, Blumenthal said.
It is important to note that "adopting a healthy lifestyle can improve the risk, enhance neurocognitive function, and it is not too late to begin, even in the elderly with signs that their brains are impaired," you can also benefit from it. "