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From the Current Issue

New Research:
Walking Reduces Risk of Cognitive Decline in Men and Women

Frequent walking may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in elderly men and women, according to two recent studies. Previous studies have found an association between exercise and a reduced risk of dementia, but it was unclear whether low-intensity exercise such as walking might be protective.

For the first study, researchers asked 2,257 men without dementia how far they walked each day. None of the participants had Parkinson’s disease or stroke, which would impair their ability to walk. Four to eight years later, the rate of dementia was 80% higher in those who walked the least (less than a quarter-mile a day) than in those who walked the most (more than two miles a day).

For the second study, researchers assessed levels of physical activity, including walking, in 16,466 women. Nine to 15 years later, women who got the most physical activity had a 20% lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who got the least. In addition, women who walked for at least 1.5 hours a week had less cognitive decline over a two-year period than those who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

Walking may reduce the risk of dementia by promoting blood supply to the brain.

Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume 292, pages 1447 and 1454
September 22/29, 2004



The Memory Bulletin is a quarterly publication that presents the latest information available to help you make informed decisions to prevent memory loss and take charge of cognitive health.
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The Memory White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.



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