Increased Exercise May Reduce Brain Shrinkage For Seniors

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Adults over the age of seventy may experience less brain shrinkage with increased physical activity says a new study from researchers at Scotland's Edinburgh University. For the study they performed brain scans on 638 adults over the age 70.

They found that those who carried out in light exercise, like walking several days a week, experience less brain shrinkage over a three-year period. Shrinkage of brain matter has recently been linked with signs of dementia.

"This study links physical exercise to fewer signs of ageing in the brain, suggesting that it may be a way of protecting our cognitive health. While we can't say that exercise is the causal factor in this study, we do know that exercise in middle age can lower the risk of dementia later in life," says expert Dr Simon Ridley, who was not part of the study.

He adds: "It will be important to follow these volunteers to see whether these structural features are associated with greater cognitive decline over the coming years. More research is also needed to tease out how physical activity might be having a beneficial effect."

The data was published this week in the journal Neurology.

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