When we think of cognitive decline, we often presume that its inevitable onset begins when we reach an old age. Although cognitive decline is a relatively common occurrence, time and time again, older adults have proven their ability to maintain cognitive function – and even improve it – as they continue to age. Many older adults who live into their ninth decade retain high cognitive function, and centenarians who maintain their intellect negate the myth of the inevitability of cognitive decline.

The oldest-old have a lot to teach us about avoiding dementia. A new study by University of Pittsburgh researchers describe some lifestyle factors that are significant indicators of long-term brain health which could help prevent dementia symptoms from setting in. People who never smoked, for example, were 10x more likely to maintain their thinking skills. Those with lower blood pressure measurements also correlated with better cognitive health and having meaningful work opportunities was important in preserving cognition. The eight-year study found that the dietary supplement ginkgo biloba was ineffective in reducing the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people. The average age of participants was 92 years old. Several other correlates from oldest of the old can be described as well.

A recent report from the Mayo clinic concluded that “that lifelong learning, mental and physical exercise, continuing social engagement, stress reduction, and proper nutrition may be important factors in promoting cognitive vitality in aging,” (Howard M. Fillit, Robert N. Butler, et al., 2002). Some of the contributors for cognitive decline include diabetes and hypertension if not properly managed early on. Treatment-wise, this study suggests that in order to prevent cognitive decline, “various therapeutics,” such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories can be used as individuals continue to age (Howard M. Fillit, Robert N. Butler, et al., 2002).

This information is useful for young adults and middle-aged individuals to help guide lifestyle decisions that can help prevent dementia and cognitive decline later in life – as well as for older individuals who seek to maintain cognitive vitality with aging. One of the best ways to manage many of these findings is through the development of regular habits. Check out how our patented system can help at www.maphabit.com.

Sources:

Achieving and maintaining cognitive vitality with aging. Howard M. Fillit, Robert N. Butler, et al., Mayo Clinic Proceedings, v77, issue 7, July, 2002P681-696, JULY 01, 2002

DOI:https://doi.org/10.4065/77.7.681

Predicting resistance to amyloid-beta deposition and cognitive resilience in the oldest-old.   Beth E. Snitz, Yuefang Chang, Dana L Tudorascu, Oscar L. Lopez, Brian J. Lopresti, Steven T DeKosky, Michelle C. Carlson, Ann D. Cohen, M. Ilyas Kamboh, Howard J. Aizenstein, William E. Klunk, Lewis H. Kuller, Neurology, July 22, 2020,

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000010239