A number of health and lifestyle factors are thought to contribute to cognitive decline associated with age but cannot be easily modified by the individual patient.
We identified 12 individually modifiable interventions that can be implemented during midlife or later with the potential to ameliorate cognitive aging.
For ten of these, we used PubMed databases for a systematic review of long-duration (at least 6 months), randomized, controlled trials in midlife and older adults without dementia or mild cognitive impairment with objective measures of neuropsychological performance.
Using network meta-analysis, we performed a quantitative synthesis for global cognition (primary outcome) and episodic memory (secondary outcome).
Of 1038 publications identified by our search strategy, 24 eligible trials were included in the network meta-analysis. Results suggested that the Mediterranean diet supplemented by olive oil and tai chi exercise may improve global cognition, and the Mediterranean diet plus olive oil and soy isoflavone supplements may improve memory.
Effect sizes were no more than small (standardized mean differences 0.11–0.22).
Cognitive training may have cognitive benefit as well.
Most individually modifiable risk factors have not yet been adequately studied.
We conclude that some interventions that can be self-initiated by healthy midlife and older adults may ameliorate cognitive aging.
Lehert P, Villaseca P, Hogervorst E, Maki PM, Henderson VW. Individually modifiable risk factors to ameliorate cognitive aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Climacteric. 2015 Oct;18(5):678-89. doi: 10.3109/13697137.2015.1078106. Epub 2015 Sep 11
Content updated October 2015