| Thursday, January 27, 2005
| DOGS HAVE A FEW THINGS TO TEACH US ABOUT AGING
|Eating well, exercise slows mental decline
in study of beagles
Perhaps people can learn some new tricks from
old dogs in warding off mental decline that
comes with aging.
Those tricks include good diet, exrcise and
plenty of mental stimulation.
A study -- in which old beagles learn to win a
shell game -- suiggests that aging humans might
benefit from improved diest and habits too,
because dogs and people experience remarkably
similar cognitive declines as they get older.
Dogs even develop plaque deposits in their
brains similar to the ones that can eventually
lead to Alzheimer's disease in humans.
In this experiment, researchers taugth old
beagles to find treats under different colored
boxes. The dogs that ate an enriched diet, got
more exericise and that the benefit of toys
and playmats were far more likely to figure it out.
Some sutdies have suggested that people can ward
off or at least delay the mental effects of aging
by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and other
compounds found in fruits and vegetables. Other
studies have fount that exercise and mental
stimulatiuon may also have a protective effect.
But the beagle study is uniqwue in looking at
diet and behavior together.
"What I thinks is interesting about this study
and somehwat different is the combination,"
said Moly Wagster, a program director at the
National Institute of Aging.
The experiemt is dscribed in the January issue
of Neurobilology of Aging. It involved researchers
from University of Toronto, the University of
California Irvine, the Hill's Pet Technology Center
and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.
Though the experiment was small, said Head,
a Professor of neurology at the University of
California Irvine, "these results are relatively striking".
And because the treatments began when the dogs were
middleaged, the study suggest that similar lifestyle
change can improve it cognitive abilities of humans
even when adopted fairly late in life.
(abstracted from CHISUNTIMES/Associated Press by: Matt Crenson)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 4:13 PM