Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Where's the Science Behind The Advice?

One of the most talked-about news reports is this week's online piece from Time magazine on the lack of scientific evidence to support the advice dispensed by medical doctors to their Alzheimer's patients. In particular, the "use it or lose it" mantra may not have as powerful a pull as once believed.

"Data has associated behaviors such as keeping the mind actively engaged throughout life, staying physically active, eating certain foods and supplementing the diet with specific vitamins and nutrients with lower rates of dementia in old age," according to the article. "Now researchers at Duke University report in the current issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that the data on the preventive effects of lifestyle factors is not as strong as they had thought."

The researchers found no specific activity or factor to help slow the disease. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other health benefits to continuing to exercise both the body and the brain. "These behaviors are known to benefit health in many other ways, namely lowering the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease and improving mood. And longer-term studies currently under way may eventually provide stronger scientific evidence to show they help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease as well."

Time.com: Alzheimer's Study: Evidence Slim on Preventative Advice