Housework can help to defeat dementia – report

Older people who move around more – even just doing housework – may protect themselves against dementia, research has shown.

Scientists studied the donated brains of 454 deceased older adults, 191 of whom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Prior to death they had undergone thinking and memory tests over a period of 20 years. Their average age at death was 91.

At an average of two years before death, each participant wore an accelerometer on the wrist to monitor activity.

Working round the clock, the device recorded everything from walking around the house to fitness routines.

The study found higher levels of daily movement were associated with better thinking and memory skills.

The pattern remained the same even when the researchers took account of the severity of damage in the brains.

Study leader Dr Aron S Buchman, from the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, said: “Our research team measured levels of physical activity in study participants an average of two years prior to death, and then examined their brain tissue after death, and found that moving more may have a protective effect on the brain.”

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