Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walking helpful for memory: Study

Regular walking may help prevent shrinkage of the brain and assist in keeping memory in later life, a new study reveals.

The study published in online issue of Neurology reports walking some 9.66 Kilometers every week has many advantages, such as benefiting the heart and a positive contribution to the brain.

The new research indicates that walking prevents brain shrinkage and possibly helps the brain to fight dementia down the road.

Study researcher Kirk I. Erickson, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, said, “Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems.” The research team analyzed data on 299 dementia-free elderly with a mean age of 78.

The subjects recorded the number of blocks they walked every week. After nine years, the team took brain scans of the participants and measured the subject's brain size. And again four years later, the subjects were tested to see if they had developed any cognitive impairment or dementia.

Those who walked at least 72 blocks per week -- 9.66 to 14.48 kilometers -- had more gray matter in their brains nine years after.

Looking into the data the study reached the conclusion that those who walked the most reduced their risk of developing dementia by 50 percent, WebMD website reported.

“Based on our results, we can conclude that there is a relation between the amount of walking earlier in life and brain volume in later adulthood and that greater volume of tissue related to walking is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment,” the study reports.