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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog

This study was done looking at 200 Swedish women aged 38-60 who underwent cycling testing that measured cardiovascular fitness. They were followed for an average of 29 years. Using objective assessments and repeat neuropsycychiatric evaluations, 23% were diagnosed with dementia at a mean age of 80. Researchers compared women who had medium cardiovascular fitness at baseline to those who had a high fitness levels, and found that those with a higher fitness level had an 88% lower risk for dementia over the course of the follow-up years. Of those that were in the high fitness category who were diagnosed with dementia, it developed about 11 years later compared to those with medium fitness.

Female Friends over fifty exercising outdoors.Commentary: While fitness level cannot be asserted to be a causal effect, it is worth emphasizing the possibility that improved cardiovascular fitness in midlife could modify a woman’s risk and delay or prevent dementia. There are several herbs and nutrients that have shown some suggestive influence in providing neurocognitive protection, but all research should be multifactorial in this area, given the growing numbers of individuals affected. Causation, prevention and treatments, all deserve assertive research and across the spectrum of issues related to causation: environmental exposures, stressors, diet, brief and long term medication exposures and genetics. Prevention: stress, nutrition, regular aerobic exercise, optimal sleep habits, herbal/nutrient supplements and medications. Treatments: natural and pharmaceutical interventions.

Reference: Horder H, et al. Midlife cardiovascular fitness and dementia: A 44 y.r. longitudinal population study in women. Neurology 2018; March 14; e-pub

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