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Seniors With Mental Declines May Face Earlier Death

Those with memory loss fared better than those who showed deficits in thinking abilities

continued...

"We know we have risk factors for mild cognitive impairment like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and stroke that also could increase mortality," Vassilaki said.

While there are no approved medications for mental decline, people who tackle these chronic illnesses can improve both their health and their chances of staying sharp in old age. "We can treat the conditions that affect mental function as well," she said.

Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical exercise, and participating in mentally stimulating and socially engaging activities all are valuable lifestyle strategies for warding off chronic illness, Vassilaki said.

The National Institute on Aging paid for the research.

Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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