• Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 factors that may help prevent memory loss

There's no question that you can take steps to prevent heart disease by living a healthy lifestyle. But is there anything you can do help prevent memory loss? Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, says a study by the National Academy of Sciences reports that there are three things you can do that may help prevent memory loss as you age.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Is there anything you can do to prevent memory loss or cognitive decline as you age?

“The National Academies of Science reported that there may be three factors that can reduce the likelihood of developing cognitive decline later in life. The first was intellectual exercise.”

Dr. Petersen says the second factor is controlling blood pressure, especially during middle age.

“The third was aerobic exercise. Getting out there, being physically active, may reduce your risks of developing cognitive decline later.”

Dr. Petersen says this information is good news, because most people can work to embrace a healthy lifestyle that includes staying active mentally, working with their health care providers to control blood pressure, and moving more.

“I think that, as our lifestyles are changing ─ hopefully, becoming more healthy ─ that those kinds of risks will be reduced somewhat.”

Dr. Petersen also says eating a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits; vegetables; whole grains; lean meats; low-fat dairy; and fats, such as olive oil, may help, as well.

Dr. Petersen also says that the intellectual exercise referred to in the study was a specific type of training developed for the research.

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