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Invited Commentary
May 13, 2013

Can Participation in Mental and Physical Activity Protect Cognition in Old Age?
Comment on “The Mental Activity and eXercise (MAX) Trial: A Randomized Controlled Trial to Enhance Cognitive Function in Older Adults”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age, St Vincent's Health, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia (Dr Lautenschlager); School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences and WA Centre for Health and Ageing, University of Western Australia, Perth (Dr Lautenschlager); and School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth (Dr Cox).

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):805-806. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.206

With many societies around the globe experiencing increasing longevity, one challenging research question of our times is how to reduce the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Modifiable risk or protective factors for Alzheimer disease (AD) are of specific interest, because probably up to half of AD cases worldwide are potentially attributable to modifiable factors.1 It has been estimated, for example, that up to 1 million AD cases could be prevented globally if a 25% reduction in physical inactivity could be achieved in the world population.1 Although the body of literature on this topic is substantial, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving older adults at increased risk of cognitive decline are still quite sparse, and RCTs that combine more than a single protective lifestyle factor in their intervention are even less common.

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