Healthy behaviors such as eating well, exercising and not-smoking have for some time been linked to lowering one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
But a new UCLA study suggests that in adults as young as 18 years of age, these positive lifestyle choices may also ward off milder memory problems throughout one's adult life — and may help delay the onset of more serious cognitive symptoms.
For their study, UCLA researchers collaborated with the Gallup organization to create a national telephone poll of 18,552 people, aged 18-to-99. The survey included Spanish-language households and is believed to represent about 90 percent of the U.S. population, researchers say.
Among the key findings of the study published in the June issue of the journal International Psychogeriatrics:
- The higher number of healthy behaviors practiced, the less likely one was to report memory problems;
- More younger people than expected reported suffering memory issues;
- Eating well was linked with better memory in all age groups;
- Not smoking was reported to help brain function in those 18 to 59;
- Exercise had the greatest effect on healthy brain function in those 40-to-99.