Friday, June 23, 2006

Eldercare: Strategies to Preserve Brain Health

New National Institute of Health (NIH) Report Suggests Promising Areas for Intervention

With the rapid aging of the population, NIH is intensifying the search for strategies to preserve brain health as people grow older. The effort moved an important step forward today with a new report by an expert panel to the NIH, suggesting a number of promising avenues for maintaining or enhancing cognitive and emotional function. Specifically, the group said, education, cardiovascular health, physical activity, psychosocial factors and genetics appear to be associated with brain health with age, and research aimed at directly testing the effectiveness of interventions in several of these areas deserves further attention.

The report is published online in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. It is a product of the Critical Evaluation Study Committee, a panel of experts appointed by NIH and led by Hugh Hendrie, M.B., Ch.B., D.Sc., of Indiana University, Indianapolis. The committee evaluated several large on-going studies of older adults for current scientific knowledge on brain health.

“Three NIH institutes — the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) — established the
NIH Cognitive and Emotional Health Project to coordinate and accelerate research leading to interventions for neurological health,” says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. “This report suggests a future direction of research and is a terrific example of what we can learn when scientists of diverse specialties work together on a complex health issue.”


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