Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tea, exercise, vitamin D reduce risk of dementia

Certain habit changes including drinking tea regularly, physical exercise, and vitamin D intake, may help prevent dementia, according to new studies published Sunday.

The studies were presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Honolulu.

The first study is on cardiovascular risk and was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. It tracked more than 1,200 senior people over 20 years, 242 of whom developed dementia.

Those who had moderate to heavy amounts of physical activity had about a 40% lower risk of developing dementia, while participants engaging in the least amount of activity were 45% more likely to develop dementia, according to the research.

The second study, which lasted for 14 years, targeted more than 4,800 men and women aging 65 and above. Researchers found that those who drank tea one to four times a week had a 37% lower chance of developing dementia than participants who didn't drink tea at all.

The third study examined vitamin D's effect on brain health. Researchers examined 3,325 U.S. adults ages 65 and older. According to the study, those who are deficient in vitamin D have 42% higher chances of suffering from cognitive impairment.

"More and more studies are suggesting that lifestyle changes may be able to silence the expression of risk genes, a phenomenon called epigenetics," said Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University.

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