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Diet & Activities Help Declining Brains “Bounce Back”

DIET + COGNITIVE + PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES: Lifestyle changes can help improve cognition in older adults experiencing cognitive decline that precedes dementia, researchers find. Find out more.

In the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 119 individuals older than 65 years of age who were experiencing cognitive decline were randomized to a control group or an intervention group for 8 weeks.

The control group received online information related to dementia and lifestyle risk factors, Mediterranean diet, physical activity, and cognitive engagement.

Participants were instructed to implement this information into their own lifestyles. The intervention group received the same online information, plus active components to assist with implementing this information into their lifestyles: dietitian sessions, an exercise physiologist session, and online brain training.

Results reinforced prior studies

Over 6 months of follow-up, investigators noted that participants in the intervention group were able to improve their lifestyle and had higher cognition scores than those in the control group.

The results suggest that lifestyle-based changes may modify the course of cognitive decline.

“We’ve known for some time that lifestyle changes such as these can reduce dementia risk in the general population.

“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,” said lead author Mitchell McMaster, a PhD student at The Australian National University.



  • Mitchell Mcmaster et al. Lifestyle Risk Factors and Cognitive Outcomes from the Multidomain Dementia Risk Reduction Randomized Controlled Trial, Body Brain Life for Cognitive Decline (BBL‐CD). Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 09 September 2020 DOI: 10.1111/jgs.16762
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October 2, 2020 6:31 pm

Hello all,

My name is Clarissa and I'm a project coordinator at UC, Berkeley. I've been working with caregivers to those with dementia for over a year now and I speak with many caregivers who do their best to implement all of these methods to help put a "pause" on the decline of their loved one's health.

Caregiving is no easy task and the caregiver community is hugely under-recognized and under-served. This is why me and my team at UCB are collaborating with silicon valley tech company, PeoplePower, on a study testing in-home assistive technology for caregivers. This study is funded by the National Institute of Health and costs absolutely nothing to participate.

Participants receive a free Presence Caregiver Research kit, mobile app and Amazon Echo completely free and can earn up to $150 for completing brief and easy questionnaires.

My lab is focused on bringing awareness to caregivers and conducting research to increase caregiver well-being because caregivers need to be provided for too!

Please click on the link below if you're interested in joining over 300 caregivers who are already participating in our exciting research!

Thomas" daughter
Thomas" daughter
Reply to  Unknown
October 8, 2020 1:33 pm

Yes please I need help! My husband and I just had to move my Dad in with us about a week ago. With COVID-19, activities are limited. I feel my own health is being threatened. What can I do to make this work for everyone?

B. Berger

B. Berger

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