Lifestyle Changes May Reduce the Risk of Cognitive Decline

Research now shows that it is possible to reduce the risk of cognitive decline by making certain lifestyle changes. This is thanks to the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER)—the first ever randomized controlled trial of its kind which shows that providing older people at risk of dementia with healthy eating assistance, brain training, exercise, and management of metabolic and vascular risk factors slows down cognitive decline.

The study included a total of 1,260 Finnish people at risk of dementia aged between 60 and 77 years. Half of the participants were assigned to a control group that only received health advice; the other half were randomly assigned to an intervention group that had to participate in meetings with health professionals over a two-year period.

Those in the intervention group underwent a program which concentrated on four major areas:

Finn1Nutritional intervention—Participants received nutritional advice based on the Finnish Nutrition Recommendations delivered by study nutritionists.

Physical exercise training—The physical exercise program, guided by physiotherapists at the gym, was based on international guidelines and consisted of individually tailored programs for progressive muscle strength training and aerobic exercise.

Cognitive training—Participants underwent group cognitive training with a trained psychologist and individual sessions consisting of computer-based training.

Metabolic and vascular monitoring and maintenance—This included regular measurements of blood pressure, weight, body mass index, hip and waist circumference, physical examinations, and recommendations for lifestyle management.

When participants were assessed after two years, the intervention group scored 25 percent higher overall in the cognitive score compared with the control group, 83 percent higher in executive memory and 150 percent higher in processing. There was also a significant difference in memory improvement between the intervention group and the control group.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the cognitive skills of students of all ages. We offer programs specifically tailored to help seniors take brain performance to new levels. Learn more about Optiminds’ by calling us at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Stewart at: And visit our website at to learn more about us.


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