Wednesday January 29, 2020

Good Sleep, Mood Can Help You Stay Sharp in Old Age, Suggests New Research

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory

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sleeping, impairment, inflammation, SLeep
Don't consume caffeinated drinks less than six hours before you go to sleep. Pixabay

Memory slips with age, but getting a fair amount of sleep every night and having a cheerful mood each day may help you stay sharp even when you grow old, suggests new research.

Poor sleep quality and a depressed mood are linked to a reduced likelihood of remembering a previously experienced event, said the study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The researchers found strong associations between working memory and three health-related factors such as sleep, age and depressed mood.

Working memory is the part of short-term memory that temporarily stores and manages information required for cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning and comprehension.

Working memory is critically involved in many higher cognitive functions, including intelligence, creative problem-solving, language and action-planning. It plays a major role in how we process, use and remember information.

The study found that age is negatively related to the “qualitative” aspect of working memory — that is, how strong or how accurate the memory is.

“Other researchers have already linked each of these factors separately to overall working memory function, but our work looked at how these factors are associated with memory quality and quantity – the first time this has been done,” said Weiwei Zhang, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside in the US.

Sleep deprivation can hurt performance and health. Wikimedia commons

“All three factors are interrelated. For example, seniors are more likely to experience negative mood than younger adults. Poor sleep quality is also often associated with depressed mood”, Zhang added.

The researchers performed two studies. In the first study, they sampled 110 college students for self-reported measures of sleep quality and depressed mood and their independent relationship to experimental measures of working memory.

In the second study, the researchers sampled 31 members of a community ranging in age from 21 to 77 years. In this study, the researchers investigated age and its relationship to working memory.

The researchers are the first to statistically isolate the effects of the three factors on working memory quantity and quality.

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Although all three factors contribute to a common complaint about foggy memory, they seem to behave in different ways and may result from potentially independent mechanisms in the brain.

These findings could lead to future interventions and treatments to counteract the negative impacts of these factors on working memory. (IANS)

Next Story

Eating Walnuts May Help Slow Cognitive Decline: Study

Walnuts can help you stay sharper at old age

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Walnuts
Walnuts can help lower blood cholesterol. Pixabay

Eating walnuts may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population, a new study suggests. It is a very important health advice.

The research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that walnut consumption by healthy, elderly adults had little effect on cognitive function over two years, but it had greater effect on elderly adults who had smoked more and had a lower baseline neuropsychological test scores.

“While this was a minor result, it could lead to better outcomes when conducted over longer periods of time,” said study researcher Joan Sabate from Loma Linda University in the US.

Walnuts
Eating walnuts may help slow cognitive decline in at-risk groups of the elderly population. Pixabay

“Further investigation is definitely warranted based on our findings, especially for disadvantaged populations, who may have the most to gain from incorporating walnuts and other nuts into their diet,” Sabate added.

The study examined nearly 640 free-living elders in Loma Linda, California, US, and in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. For two years, the test group included walnuts in their daily diet, and the control group abstained from walnuts.

Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which have previously been found to counteract oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are drivers of cognitive decline, the researchers said.

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According to the researchers, this was the largest and most well-controlled trial ever conducted on the effects of nuts on cognition.

Sabate and his research team were the first to discover the cholesterol-lowering effect of nut consumption — specifically walnuts — with lowering blood cholesterol. Findings were first published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993. (IANS)