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Does physical and mental exertion have different effects on men and women's thinking?

ANI | Updated: Jul 24, 2022 23:58 IST

Minneapolis [US], July 24 (ANI): Studies have shown that maintaining cognitive function and preventing dementia can be accomplished by participating in both mental and physical activities. A recent study found that these benefits might vary across men and women. The study has been made available online in the American Academy of Neurology's medical publication.
The study looked at how mental and physical activities like reading, going to class, playing cards, or playing games affected cognitive reserve in the areas of thinking quickly and remembering. The defence mechanism known as cognitive reserve helps people maintain their mental sharpness even when their brains show the underlying abnormalities associated with dementia and cognitive decline.
Greater levels of physical activity were shown to be associated with higher levels of thinking speed reserve in women but not in males, according to the study's author Judy Pa, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego. Increased reserves of thinking speed were associated with higher levels of mental activity in both men and women. Physically active people--men and women--did not have better memory capacities.
The 758 research participants were 758, with an average age of 76. Some people had dementia, whilst others just had mild cognitive impairment. The participants had brain scans in addition to memory and thinking-speed assessments. To assess cognitive reserve, the overall volume of the hippocampus, a prominent Alzheimer's disease brain area, and other brain changes associated with dementia were compared to people's performance on thinking tasks.

The average amount of physical activity that each person engaged in each week was also questioned. They were asked if they had engaged in reading periodicals, newspapers, or books over the previous 13 months, going to class, playing cards, games, or bingo, and whether they had participated in any of these three types of mental activity. They may be awarded one point for each type of activity, for a total of three points.
For mental activity, participants received an average score of 1.4 points. Every week on average, participants performed strenuous physical activity for at least 15 minutes, such as brisk walking and biking.
Every additional mental activity people participated in, according to Pa, delayed the ageing of their thinking and processing abilities by 13 years, or 17 years for men and 10 years for women " Because there are questionably few or no effective therapies for Alzheimer's disease, prevention is crucial. Pa used to say, "A pound of treatment is worth an ounce of prevention. It's quite exciting to find that minor lifestyle modifications, such as going to community centre programmes, playing bingo with friends, or spending more time walking or gardening, may help people enhance their cognitive reserve.
When it comes to women's cognitive speed and reasoning abilities, doubling physical activity would be comparable to an estimated 2.75 fewer years of ageing, according to Pa, based on the impact sizes reported in the study.
Additionally, scientists looked at whether the APOE e4 gene, which is associated with the highest risk of Alzheimer's disease, affects the relationship between mental and physical exercise and cognitive reserve. They found that the advantages of the link between mental and physical exercise and cognitive reserve are diminished in women who inherit the gene. The study finds no connection between improved cognitive reserve and either physical or mental exercise. Only an association is displayed. (ANI)