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Monday, February 11, 2008

Walking Helps Memory

"There's an avalanche of neuroscience to support that (physical) exercise is good for the brain," said John Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and co-author of an upcoming book on the subject.

That's hopeful news for many who worry that growing old may mean losing their minds.

A survey conducted last year by Harris Interactive for the MetLife Foundation found that Alzheimer's was a bigger source of anxiety for Americans 55 and older than heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

In a six-year study of 1,740 adults 65 and older published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found those who exercised more than three times a week were less likely to develop dementia than those who didn't.

A 2005 study of 3,375 adults in the same age group produced similar results. But investigators said the findings, while encouraging, don't yet prove that exercise prevents the onset of dementia.

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