FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Improvements in lifestyle risk factors for dementia can lead to short-term improvements in cognition among community-dwelling adults experiencing cognitive decline, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mitchell McMaster, from Australian National University in Canberra, and colleagues randomly assigned 119 individuals experiencing subjective cognitive decline or mild cognitive impairment to eight weeks of an intervention with educational modules and additional active components (dietitian sessions, an exercise physiologist session, and online brain training) or a control condition with educational modules (covering dementia and lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and cognitive engagement).

The researchers found that the intervention group had a significantly lower Australian National University-Alzheimer’s Disease Risk Index score and a significantly higher cognition score versus the control group. Changes in lifestyle were driven by increases in protective lifestyle factors, rather than a reduction in risk factors, in a secondary analysis. Further, cognitive changes were only apparent for the Symbol Digit Modalities Test.

“What this study adds is that with the right intervention, people experiencing cognitive decline may retain sufficient neuroplasticity for their brain to ‘bounce back’ from decline,” McMaster said in a statement.

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