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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

URI group investigates impacts of diet, exercise on development of dementia

We talk a lot about sustainability starting within.  Here's a great example of contemplating how a healthier life style, with an emphasis on organic, natural, is good for the planet and, of course, for us.

How good is one of the questions raised in this study.  A steady exercise program, as you know, depends on a health environment of clean natural resources.

THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND’S Lifestyle Interventions Group, which includes subject-matter experts from a wide variety of academic disciplines, is working on several projects exploring how exercise and diet can play a part in delaying or preventing dementia. /COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND/MICHAEL SALERNO
THE UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND’S Lifestyle Interventions Group, which includes subject-matter experts from a wide variety of academic disciplines, is working on several projects exploring how exercise and diet can play a part in delaying or preventing dementia. /COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND/MICHAEL SALERNO

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – University of Rhode Island faculty, staff and graduate students working across a broad range of disciplines hope to conquer one of the nation’s most troubling health challenges: how to prevent or slow dementia’s onset through exercise and nutrition changes.
This cohort, called the Lifestyle Interventions Group, includes disciplines beyond the typical confines of brain science, and engages with organizations, communities and individuals from across Rhode Island, according to a URI statement. This holistic perspective expands and enriches avenues of investigation, with an objective of providing the scientific underpinnings to support practical changes in behavior that can improve people’s lives, William Renehan, associate director of the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience at URI and a founder of the group, said in the statement.
Separate studies from the National Institutes of Health and the Alzheimer’s Association examined the role of exercise and diet in dementia’s context and reached markedly different conclusions; nevertheless, Renehan is intrigued by the idea that simple behavioral changes could reduce the risk of developing dementia. Then, Renehan learned of a small study by a Wake Forest University researcher that delivered promising results. “If this were a drug trial and the results were this impressive, it would be on the front page of the paper. But it got very little attention. Simple things don’t seem to resonate,” he said.
So Renehan conducted his own literature review and discovered that studies on diet and exercise were conducted without input from kinesiologists, physical therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, gerontologists and others. “There was an incredible variability in the measures and methods,” he said. “I thought: ‘We have people at URI who have the skills and knowledge to do this research.’ ”

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