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      Leisure Activities and Change in Cognitive Stability: A Multivariate Approach


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          Aging is traditionally associated with cognitive decline, attested by slower reaction times and poorer performance in various cognitive tasks, but also by an increase in intraindividual variability (IIV) in cognitive performance. Results concerning how lifestyle activities protect from cognitive decline are mixed in the literature and all focused on how it affects mean performance. However, IIV has been proven to be an index more sensitive to age differences, and very little is known about the relationships between lifestyle activities and change in IIV in aging. This longitudinal study explores the association between frequency of physical, social, intellectual, artistic, or cultural activities and age-related change in various cognitive abilities, considering both mean performance and IIV. Ninety-six participants, aged 64–93 years, underwent a battery of cognitive tasks at four measurements over a seven-year period, and filled out a lifestyle activity questionnaire. Linear multilevel models were used to analyze the associations between change in cognitive performance and five types of activities. Results showed that the practice of leisure activities was more strongly associated with IIV than with mean performance, both when considering overall level and change in performance. Relationships with IIV were dependent of the cognitive tasks considered and overall results showed protective effects of cultural, physical and intellectual activities on IIV. These results underline the need for considering IIV in the study of age-related cognitive change.

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          Aerobic fitness is associated with hippocampal volume in elderly humans.

          Deterioration of the hippocampus occurs in elderly individuals with and without dementia, yet individual variation exists in the degree and rate of hippocampal decay. Determining the factors that influence individual variation in the magnitude and rate of hippocampal decay may help promote lifestyle changes that prevent such deterioration from taking place. Aerobic fitness and exercise are effective at preventing cortical decay and cognitive impairment in older adults and epidemiological studies suggest that physical activity can reduce the risk for developing dementia. However, the relationship between aerobic fitness and hippocampal volume in elderly humans is unknown. In this study, we investigated whether individuals with higher levels of aerobic fitness displayed greater volume of the hippocampus and better spatial memory performance than individuals with lower fitness levels. Furthermore, in exploratory analyses, we assessed whether hippocampal volume mediated the relationship between fitness and spatial memory. Using a region-of-interest analysis on magnetic resonance images in 165 nondemented older adults, we found a triple association such that higher fitness levels were associated with larger left and right hippocampi after controlling for age, sex, and years of education, and larger hippocampi and higher fitness levels were correlated with better spatial memory performance. Furthermore, we demonstrated that hippocampal volume partially mediated the relationship between higher fitness levels and enhanced spatial memory. Our results clearly indicate that higher levels of aerobic fitness are associated with increased hippocampal volume in older humans, which translates to better memory function. Copyright 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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            Participation in cognitively stimulating activities and risk of incident Alzheimer disease.

            Frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities has been hypothesized to reduce risk of Alzheimer disease (AD), but prospective data regarding an association are lacking. To test the hypothesis that frequent participation in cognitive activities is associated with a reduced risk of AD. Longitudinal cohort study with baseline evaluations performed between January 1994 and July 2001 and mean follow-up of 4.5 years. A total of 801 older Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers without dementia at enrollment, recruited from 40 groups across the United States. At baseline, they rated frequency of participation in common cognitive activities (eg, reading a newspaper), from which a previously validated composite measure of cognitive activity frequency was derived. Clinical diagnosis of AD by a board-certified neurologist using National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria and change in global and specific measures of cognitive function, compared by cognitive activity score at baseline. Baseline scores on the composite measure of cognitive activity ranged from 1.57 to 4.71 (mean, 3.57; SD, 0.55), with higher scores indicating more frequent activity. During an average of 4.5 years of follow-up, 111 persons developed AD. In a proportional hazards model that controlled for age, sex, and education, a 1-point increase in cognitive activity score was associated with a 33% reduction in risk of AD (hazard ratio, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.92). Results were comparable when persons with memory impairment at baseline were excluded and when terms for the apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele and other medical conditions were added. In random-effects models that controlled for age, sex, education, and baseline level of cognitive function, a 1-point increase in cognitive activity was associated with reduced decline in global cognition (by 47%), working memory (by 60%), and perceptual speed (by 30%). These results suggest that frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities is associated with reduced risk of AD.
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              A Review of the Effects of Physical Activity and Exercise on Cognitive and Brain Functions in Older Adults

              Studies supporting the notion that physical activity and exercise can help alleviate the negative impact of age on the body and the mind abound. This literature review provides an overview of important findings in this fast growing research domain. Results from cross-sectional, longitudinal, and intervention studies with healthy older adults, frail patients, and persons suffering from mild cognitive impairment and dementia are reviewed and discussed. Together these finding suggest that physical exercise is a promising nonpharmaceutical intervention to prevent age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

                Author and article information

                Role: Academic Editor
                Brain Sci
                Brain Sci
                Brain Sciences
                01 March 2017
                March 2017
                : 7
                : 3
                : 27
                [1 ]Cognitive aging lab, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland; salome.doll@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Group of Developmental and Differential Psychology, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland; Anik.deRibaupierre@ 123456unige.ch
                [3 ]Methodology and Data Analysis Unit, FPSE, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland; Emmanuelle.Grob@ 123456unige.ch (E.G.); Paolo.Ghisletta@ 123456unige.ch (P.G.)
                [4 ]Swiss Distance Learning University, Brig 3900, Switzerland
                [5 ]LIVES–Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectives, University of Geneva, Geneva 1211, Switzerland
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Nathalie.Mella-Barraco@ 123456unige.ch ; Tel.: +41-22-379-90-53
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                : 08 December 2016
                : 25 February 2017

                intraindividual variability,cognitive aging,leisure activities,longitudinal study


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