Listed in Issue 204


VERCAMBRE and COLLEAGUES, Foundation of Public Health, Mutuelle Generale de l'Education Nationale, Paris, France examined the relation between physical activity and cognitive decline in participants of the Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study.


Individuals with vascular disease or risk factors have substantially higher rates of cognitive decline, yet little is known about means of maintaining cognition in this group.


The authors examined the relation between physical activity and cognitive decline in participants of the Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, a cohort of women with prevalent vascular disease or at least 3 coronary risk factors. Recreational physical activity was assessed at baseline (October 1995 through June 1996) and every 2 years thereafter. Between December 1998 and July 2000, a total of 2809 women 65 years or older underwent a cognitive battery by telephone interview, including 5 tests of global cognition, verbal memory, and category fluency. Tests were administered 3 additional times over 5.4 years. The authors used multivariable-adjusted general linear models for repeated measures to compare the annual rates of cognitive score changes across levels of total physical activity and energy expended in walking, as assessed at Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study baseline.


The authors found a significant trend (P < .001 for trend) toward decreasing rates of cognitive decline with increasing energy expenditure. Compared with the bottom quintile of total physical activity, significant differences in rates of cognitive decline were observed from the fourth quintile (P = .04 for the fourth quintile and P < .001 for the fifth quintile), or the equivalent of daily 30-minute walks at a brisk pace. This was equivalent to the difference in cognitive decline observed for women who were 5 to 7 years younger. Regularly walking for exercise was strongly related to slower rates of cognitive decline (P = .003 for trend).


Regular physical activity, including walking, was associated with better preservation of cognitive function in older women with vascular disease or risk factors.


Vercambre MN, Grodstein F, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Kang JH and Jae H. Physical activity and cognition in women with vascular conditions. Comments Comment in: Arch Intern Med. Jul 2011 25;171(14):1258-9; PMID: 21771895 Source Archives of Internal Medicine. 171(14):1244-50, Jul 2011 25. Other ID Source: NLM. NIHMS314477 [Available on 07/25/12] Source: NLM. PMC3153432 [Available on 07/25/12].

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