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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 52-56

Prevention of cognitive decline: Lifestyle and other issues

Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Cyriac George
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Thrissur, 680596, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-9995.181917

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Ageing often leads to decline in cognitive abilities. Significant cognitive impairment leads to functional impairment and need for care. Prevention of cognitive decline and delaying its progression would help to reduce the need for long-term care. Both genetic and environmental factors are important determinants of cognitive health in late life. A better cognitive reserve helps to prevent cognitive decline. Cognitive reserve is now considered as a functional reserve rather than a structural reserve. Cognitive reserve can be enhanced through experience. People with higher level of education tend to have higher cognitive reserve. Better cognitive reserve can act as a buffer. Engagement in cognitively stimulating activities may prevent cognitive decline in late life. Physical exercise also improves cognitive health. Aerobic exercises, which improve cardiorespiratory fitness, improve cognitive functions like motor functions, cognitive speed, and auditory and visual attention. Beneficial effects on executive functions are also reported. Healthy diet, especially adherence to Mediterranean diet (MeDi), is considered to be useful in preserving cognitive health. Engagement in social activities might also reduce cognitive decline. Encouraging adherence to a healthy lifestyle and continuing to be physically, socially, and cognitively active seems to be a promising strategy to prevent cognitive decline.

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