Cognitive decline: is there a protective role for nutrition and physical activity?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the UK, life expectancy has doubled over the last 200 years. The ageing population means that prevalence of dementia is set to increase in the coming decades. Mental impairment and dementia have a severe impact on a person’s autonomy and independence, so the prospect of postponing or preventing cognitive impairment is therefore of great importance. Current research indicates that adequate intake of vitamins B6, B12 and folate (most likely via their effects on homocysteine), and particularly long chain omega-3 fatty acids could offer protection from cognitive decline. Epidemiological studies indicate that physical activity could improve cognitive function in older people. Further results from randomized controlled trials are eagerly awaited in order to confirm observational findings. In the meantime, supporting individuals in making healthy choices throughout their life course should be a priority for health professionals, in order to reduce the disease burden of cognitive decline and dementia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-146
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Community Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Cognitive decline
  • Dementia
  • ageing
  • Diet
  • Physical activity


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