The Role of Lifestyle in Cognitive Aging

Lifestyle behaviors refer to routine activities (such as smoking, alcohol, diet, and physical activity) that can affect health. Because of its effects on various health outcomes, the term “lifestyle behaviors” has also been referred to as “health-related behaviors”. Many studies have shown that lifestyle behaviors are associated with type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and mortality.
A recent study that investigated the relationship between lifestyle behaviors and mortality, following a cohort of more than 20,000 people aged 45 to 79 years old in Norfolk, UK, between 1993 and 1997. The results of this study showed that those who smoke, drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week, consume less than five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and who are inactive have a four times higher risk of death than those who do not show at all. An important point to emphasize further is that lifestyle behaviors are not always independent from each other and can also have additional effects on various health outcomes.The Role of Lifestyle in Cognitive Aging
Optimal control and management of lifestyle factors demonstrates efficacy in preventing cognitive decline and dementia, highlighting an interconnected link between risk factors for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and dementia. The accumulating evidence suggests potential risk factors for cardiovascular disorders (eg middle age obesity and smoking) and potential protective factors for psychosocial and lifestyle factors (eg higher education, regular exercise, healthy eating, intellectually challenging leisure activities and active socially integrated). refers to their roles.
The factors that significantly affect dementia risk and cognitive decline are social and cognitive involvement. Other effects, such as physical activity that increase brain blood flow and in turn support nerve cell growth and improved cerebrovascular function, appear to be the most frequently cited lifestyle in the cognitive aging literature. However, physical activity is highly likely to improve cognition through other mediating factors such as depression, sleep, appetite (diet) and energy levels, by delaying or preventing age-related diseases (eg diabetes, hypertension) that are known to affect cognition. What’s more, there are well-known documented benefits of not smoking. These are moderate alcohol consumption and healthy eating options for a healthy and successful cognitive function in the middle to advanced life.
In addition to important observational data on the independent effects of lifestyle factors, empirical evidence from intervention studies is now increasing. It is believed that changes made in lifestyle factors can reduce an individual’s risk of developing cognitive decline. Evidence of a correlation was strongest with an increase in physical activity level of an individual followed by smoking cessation. These interventions carry little risk and have many additional health benefits, so they may be recommended for most of the older population.
Other factors such as increased social engagement, cognitive stimulation, and homocysteine-lowering vitamin supplements also appear promising, and there is substantial observational evidence supporting their intake, but empirical evidence for these interventions is still lacking. Similarly, fitness training interventions have been found to have powerful but selective benefits for cognition, and the greatest fitness-related benefits have emerged for manager-control processes. This indicates that cognitive and neural flexibility can be maintained throughout life. However, the actual risk of dementia is probably underestimated, and it is unclear how many people quit between the time of the initial research and the onset of dementia, although there have been net long-term consequences of middle-aged smoking.The Role of Lifestyle in Cognitive Aging
Studies have also shown that the diet can help prevent, better manage, and even reverse conditions that can lead to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and atherosclerosis. In turn, this affects the optimal functioning of organs including the brain due to insufficient glucose and oxygen transfer required for optimal neuronal transfer and has a significant impact on cognitive function.
To date, only limited studies have investigated the combined effect of these behaviors in relation to cognitive outcomes, and when this evidence is available, the findings are inconsistent. For example, a French study investigating alcohol (wine consumption) and smoking in 833 older adults from Eugeria’s longitudinal study on cognitive aging showed that there was no obvious protection from these combined behaviors against Alzheimer’s disease. For example, smoking was associated with an increased decrease in language performance even when adjusted for wine consumption, and the latter has been associated with an increased decrease in attention and memory as you become accustomed to smoking.
However, the study only cites previous evidence suggesting that smoking (using a pack-year measure) is significantly associated with a decline in the number range, but low to moderate alcohol consumption is not significantly associated with the next three-year change in performance. More recent studies have highlighted that the number, duration, and interaction between certain unhealthy behaviors are all related to subsequent cognition in later life. In a study conducted on London officials (Whitehall II cohort), the interaction between alcohol and smoking was investigated, and these results highlighted that the combined effects of smoking and alcohol consumption are greater than individual effects.
Participants who smoke and smoke heavily experienced a 36% faster cognitive decline compared to nonsmokers who smoked in moderation. These associations have been observed to have higher age, gender, education and chronic disease risks. A previous study in the same group highlighted that participants with three to four unhealthy behaviors were more likely to have poor executive function and memory than those without the unhealthy behaviors. Also, when the number of unhealthy behaviors repeats over time (across three different waves), lower cognitive function is more likely. The Role of Lifestyle in Cognitive Aging
Similar findings from the Suwon Longitudinal Aging Study (SLAS) showed that the combination of multiple positive lifestyle behaviors (such as no smoking, vegetable consumption, and social activity) was associated with higher cognitive ability. However, as these behaviors tend to cluster, it is unclear to what extent the apparent effects of one behavior can be attributed (ie, confused) to another.
Moreover, relatively little is known about the longitudinal effects of these behaviors on cognitive decline; Nevertheless, the relationships between multiple lifestyle behaviors highlight long-term studies as behavior patterns tend to evolve over decades and there are implications for targeted interventions to alter overall public health risk. The lifelong approach to age-related diseases provides an important opportunity to determine the nature and timing of different environmental contributions to neuronal damage and dementia risk throughout life.
Risk and protective factors for health may exert their most critical effects at different ages. This is the hypothesis that a life-course approach and positive lifestyle behaviors such as not smoking, being physically active, and choosing healthier diets can preserve cognitive functions and cause slow cognitive decline in later life. accepted by. Fratiglioni et al. identified key periods for potential risk and protective factors. Early life appears to be most critical for the development of cognitive reserve (learning and education), and remote side effects (such as childhood social conditions) contribute to the risk of adult disease or later dementia life.
Lifestyle behaviors, including those that affect cardiovascular and metabolic risk, become more effective in middle age, but some, such as diet and physical activity, return to childhood, whereas later-to-life mental and physical activity patterns may continue to mitigate these risks. Cadar et al. Using the Medical Research Council, he studied relationships between lifestyle behaviors in early middle age (36 and 43 years old) in relation to cognitive performance at 43, and in combination with cognitive decline over 20 years from 43 to 60-64.
The main findings for previous analyzes were that the highest level of physical activity in middle age was initially associated with better memory (but not the pace of seeking), and consistently healthy diet choice was associated with slower memory decline until mid-to-late life. In addition, the highest level of physical activity at age 43 and early middle age was associated with a slower decline in visual seeking speed regardless of all other lifestyle behaviors and covariates selected. These;
Social origin class,
Childhood cognition,
Educational attainment,
• Adult social class,
Anxiety and depression symptoms
Clinical conditions (hypertension, diabetes, cancer, CVD) and frailty)
Smoking was not associated with either cognitive outcome, but these results should be interpreted with caution as the number of binge smokers in this example is relatively low. It should also be noted that their findings on diet choice and physical activity are not always consistent across middle age different ages compared to the effects of cumulative scores.
In Cadar’s study, the relationships between physical activity and a slower decline in the speed of visual search, and between healthy diet choice and memory are new findings and have not been previously tested in this cohort. In the former case, physical activity had not been investigated in relation to search speed in the previous study; In the latter case, middle age cognition has not been previously studied in relation to nutrition in this cohort. On the other hand, associations between heavy smoking at age 43 and faster memory decline previously reported between ages 43 and 53 (Richards et al., 2003) are here not replicated by the 20-year period of cognitive change from 43 to 60+.
Evidence from a study of London civil servants found that gender had an effect on the relationship between smoking and cognitive decline in a study of civil servants in London. Their results showed that after adjusting for the effects of heart disease, stroke, and lung function on mental abilities, men who smoked declined faster than non-smokers over a 10-year period, while women did not show any difference in cognitive scores.
This may be related to the lower number of female participants compared to the men in the Whitehall II study. [ 105]. Regarding physical activity, leisure physical activity at least twice a week in middle age was associated with a reduced risk of memory decline after age, gender, and training adjustment in the Cardiovascular risk factors, Incidence of Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study. , follow-up time, locomotor disorders, APOE genotype, vascular disorders, smoking and alcohol consumption.
Similarly, in the Mayo Clinical Aging Study, moderate exercise in middle age or older age was associated with a reduced likelihood of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). In contrast, results from the Chicago Health and Aging Project reported that physical activity performed within 2 weeks of the baseline cognitive assessment was not associated with the risk of cognitive decline in an elderly population.
Given that lifestyle behaviors are modifiable risk factors, it indicates that promoting a healthy lifestyle can prevent or improve cognitive decline and underlying cerebrovascular and cardiovascular risk factors. Designing interventions that support healthy lifestyles should represent key components of any answer to the potentially overwhelming problem of dementia prevention.


Author: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu

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