Today’s Headlines: The Initial Signs of Dementia, the Amount of Exercise That May Lower Disease Risk, and How Yoga May Help Stress

Evidence suggests that the first symptom of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease might not be memory loss. While memory loss is definitely a warning sign, research has shown that other issues may be more telling early on. “Researchers…outlined a syndrome called ‘mild behavioral impairment’ that may be a harbinger of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and proposed a checklist of symptoms to alert doctors and families, including: losing interest in favorite activities, getting unusually anxious, aggressive or suspicious, and suddenly making crude comments in public. ‘Historically, these symptoms have been written off as a psychiatric issue, or as just part of aging,’ said Dr. Zahinoor Ismail of the University of Calgary, who presented the checklist at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Toronto.” Other symptoms included anxiety about routine, increased apathy, and loss of impulse control. (CBS)

You may need to exercise more than you think. Daily physical activity is encouraged by doctors and other experts but new research suggests that you may need to exercise more in order to lower your risk for disease. “Researchers [in the United States and Australia]…conducted a meta-analysis of 174 studies published between 1980 and 2016 that examined the effect of exercise on five chronic diseases: breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Study authors observed that, to a certain point, the more a person exercised, the lower his or her risk of all five conditions. But the sweet spot for health gains occurred when individuals had a total activity level of 3000-4000 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week, according to a news release…MET measures express the energy cost of physical activity, which is calculated by the number of calories an activity can burn multiplied by the number of minutes a person is engaged in said activity.” The researchers said that 3000-4000 METs a week can be achieved by always staying active. Examples included taking the stairs for 10 minutes, running for 20 minutes, and going on a bike ride for 25 minutes. (Fox)

A small study showed that yoga may significantly lower stress. Practicing yoga on a regular basis may help relieve high levels of stress. “…Researchers in Australia looked at 116 adult women who reported experiencing moderate to very high levels of stress for at least a month. The women who practiced yoga had lower levels of psychological distress as well as less perceived stress compared to the women who did not practice yoga. Women in the yoga group also had higher levels of more positive emotions and moods. The women also experienced lower waist size and more flexibility. The researchers didn’t see a difference in blood pressure levels, mindfulness, well-being, and negative moods.” The study was too small for strong conclusions to be made, but it supports the idea that yoga is beneficial in a variety of ways. (Time)