Category Archive for: ‘Lifestyle’
Physical activity and APOE4 genotype related to cognitive decline
In elderly men of the FINE study a decrease in average physical activity over time was associated with a greater cognitive decline than in those maintaining physical activity. APOE4 carriers with a low level of physical activity are particularly at high risk of cognitive decline.
Lower activity related to cognitive decline
A decrease in the duration of daily activity of more than 60 min per day over 10 years follow-up was associated with an almost 3-fold greater cognitive decline compared to those who maintained their regular activity. A decrease in average intensity of exercise of a half standard deviation was associated with almost a 4 times greater cognitive decline in elderly men from The Netherlands and Italy. [glossary_exclude]
APOE4 modifies the relation of physical activity with cognitive decline
In elderly men from Zutphen, a low (<1 hour/day) compared to a high (>1 hour/day) duration of physical activity was associated with a 2-fold greater cognitive decline. This decline was twice as great in APOE4 carriers.
A healthful diet and lifestyle is related to low CVD risk
A Mediterranean style diet, a high level of physical activity, not smoking and moderate alcohol consumption were all associated with low 10-year risk of CHD and CVD in the European HALE project. A very low risk of these diseases was observed in elderly men who had four compared to those who had none or one healthful diet and lifestyle factor. We estimate that among elderly men who did not adhere to a low-risk lifestyle pattern, 64% of deaths due to CHD and 61% due to CVD might have been prevented based on the observed risk differences.
Among elderly men, the more healthful factors of diet and lifestyle the lower the CVD mortality observed. More than 60% of CVD mortality was associated with lack of adherence to the low-risk pattern. This finding implies that even at advanced ages those who follow a Mediterranean style diet and maintain a healthful lifestyle are less likely to die from CVD.
Widowhood associated with disability
Elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy who became widowed during 10 years of observation had a 2-fold greater risk of disabilities related to instumental activities or mobility than those who did not lose their wives. Widowed men living alone had 75% fewer mobility-related disabilities and 98% fewer basic activities-related disability than those living with other adults. The associations among countries did not differ.
Observations among widowed men
In elderly men of the FINE study, duration of widowhood more or less than 5 years was studied according to household composition: living alone, with family, or in an institution. Standardized questionnaires were used for measuring different Activities of Daily Living.
Physical activity relates to lower risk of disability
Elderly European men with a high level of physical activity at entry had a 54% lower risk of subsequent disability compared to men with a low activity level. This was related to the length of time the physical activities were caried out and not to their intensity.
The results suggest that even in old age among relatively healthy men, a physically active lifestyle protects against disability and the duration of such activities appeared more important than their intensity.
Measuring physical activity and disability
Different aspects of physical activity and disability were investigated in the FINE study of elderly men from Finland, Italy and The Netherlands, with 10 years of follow-up. Information on self-reported physical activity was based on a validated questionnaire on activities such as walking, biking and gardening. Self-reported disabilities were evaluated with the WHO-questionnaire on Activities of Daily Living.
Optimism associated with a lower risk of depression
In the Zutphen Elderly Study a high level of optimism in 1985 was associated with a 77% lower risk of depressive symptoms in either 1990, 1995 or 2000. Men free of depressive symptoms in 1990 had a 63% lower cumulative 10-year incidence of depressive symptoms. These results suggest that optimistic elderly men are at a lower risk to develop depressive symptoms.
Measuring optimism and depression
Dispositional optimism was assessed with a 4-item questionnaire of the Central Bureau of Statistics in The Netherlands and depressive symptoms with the 20-items validated Zung self-rating depression scale.
Moderate physical activity inversely associated with depression
At least mild physical activities (2 kcal/kg/hour, so f.i. for a 70 kg person that would be 140 kcal/hour) were inversely related to depressive symptoms in the baseline survey of the Finland, Italy, Netherlands Elderly study. One unit of moderate physical activity (30 min per day of walking, cycling, gardening and sports) at baseline was associated with a 3% lower risk of depressive symptoms 5 years later.
Moderate alcohol intake inversely related to depression but not to smoking
Moderate alcohol intake (less than 31 gram per day, equal to 3 glasses/d) entry was related to a 65% lower risk of depressive symptoms 5 years later, but the prevalence of smoking did not predict depressive symptoms.
- Kamphuis et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:1693-9
- Bots et al. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2008;23:478-84
Living together associated with lower cognitive decline
In elderly men from Finland, The Netherlands and Italy information was collected on marital status and living situation in 1985 and again in 1990. This was related to cognitive decline during the next 10 years. Men who were married or who lived with others (with spouse, children, others or in a nursing home) in both 1985 and 1990, had the smallest subsequent 10-year cognitive decline.
The influence of marriage
Elderly men who lost a partner and those who were unmarried in the two examination rounds had a 2 times greater cognitive decline compared with those who were married in both years. Men who started to live alone between 1985 and 1990, had a cognitive decline 2 times greater and those who lived alone in both years had a cognitive decline 3.5 times greater than that of men who lived with others in both years.
Coffee may promote cognitive function in contrast to alcohol and smoking
In elderly men of the FINE study, moderate coffee drinking was associated with less cognitive decline, while alcohol consumption and tobacco-smoking were not related to cognition.
Coffee associated with less cognitive decline
The least cognitive decline was observed for elderly men who consumed 3 cups of coffee/day. It was 4 times less than the decline among non-consumers. The association between coffee consumption and cognitive decline over a 10-year period was investigated in the FINE study. In Finland, 90% of the elderly men drank coffee, while 95% did so in The Netherlands and 50% in Italy.
Alcohol and smoking not related to cognitive decline
Alcohol consumption was not related to cognitive decline in men without CVD or diabetes at entry. About 80% of the elderly men in Zutphen used alcohol while only 5% drank as many as 3 drinks per day. There was also no association between cigarette smoking and cognitive decline in men without CVD or diabetes at entry. In Zutphen, only 23% of men aged 70-89 smoked cigarettes.
Cardiovascular risk factors also associated with dementia
The risk factors – smoking, serum cholesterol, blood pressure, lung function and the presence of CVD at baseline – were associated with death from dementia. The risk was 58% greater for heavy compared to non-smokers, 55% greater for hypertensives compared to those with normal blood pressure, 73% greater for those with a high level of serum cholesterol, 46% lower for those with a high compared to a low lung function and 94% greater for those with a history of CVD at baseline compared to those with no such history. Men with a combination of two of the risk factors had a 2 times greater risk of death from dementia. These results suggest that that cardiovascular risk factors measured in midlife predict the risk of death with dementia.
Cardiovascular risk factors measured in the Seven Countries Study
Cardiovascular risk factors were measured at baseline and 160 out of 10,211 middle-aged men died from dementia during 40 years of follow-up. The results of the SCS suggest that cardiovascular risk factors affect the neurodegenerative process leading to dementia.
Low alcohol intake associated with low all-cause mortality and better survival
Among regular consumers of alcoholic beverages in the Zutphen Study, average alcohol intake increased from 8 g/d in 1960 to 18 g/d in 1985 and then decreased to 13 g/d in 2000. All-cause mortality during 40 years of follow-up was 25% lower in men who drank less than 20 g alcohol per day and on average 6 g/d compared to non-drinkers. Men average aged 50 with a long-term regular alcohol intake of 20 g/d or less, had a 2.3 years longer life expectancy than those who did not use alcohol.
Wine drinkers had the best life expectancy
The life expectancy of wine drinkers (average age 50, average alcohol intake 2 g/d) was 4.7 years longer compared to those who did not use alcohol. For those who consumed on average 8 g/d alcohol as beer or spirits the difference in life expectancy from non-alcohol drinkers was 2.2 years.