On its “All Things Considered” program and in its “Shots” blog, NPR (1/16, Neighmond) reports that “even simple housework like cooking or cleaning may make a difference in brain health” as people age into their “70s and 80s.” For the study, investigators “looked at 454 older adults who were 70 or older when the research began.” Of these participants, “191 had behavioral signs of dementia and 263 did not.” Each participant was “given thinking and memory tests every year for 20 years.” After participants died, investigators examined their brains. MedPage Today (1/16, George) reports the postmortem study revealed that “higher levels of physical activity and motor abilities were independently associated with better cognition in older adults, even when brain lesions or biomarkers linked to dementia were present.” The findings were published online Jan. 16 in Neurology. The authors of an accompanying editorial wrote, “The results of randomized trials of physical exercise suggest that exercise leads to increases in brain tissue, including in the hippocampus, where atrophy is an early and important finding in Alzheimer’s disease.” They added, “Alternatively, physical exercise itself might reduce brain pathology.” (SOURCE: APA Headlines)