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High-salt diets, limited exercise increase risk of cognitive decline in seniors

August 23, 2011
by root
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Older adults who lead sedentary lifestyles and consume a lot of sodium in their diet may be putting themselves at risk for more than just heart disease. A study led by researchers at Baycrest in Toronto has found evidence that high-salt diets coupled with low physical activity can be detrimental to cognitive health in older adults.

The study followed the sodium consumption and physical activity levels of 1,262 healthy older men and women (ages 67 to 84) residing in Quebec, Canada, over three years. “We have generated important evidence that sodium intake not only impacts heart health, but brain health as well,” said Dr. Alexandra Fiocco, a scientist with Baycrest’s Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit (KLAERU) and the study’s lead investigator.

“The results of our study showed that a diet high in sodium, combined with little exercise, was especially detrimental to the cognitive performance of older adults,” said Dr. Fiocco. “But the good news is that sedentary older adults showed no cognitive decline over the three years that we followed them if they had low sodium intake.”

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