Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of a 14-day healthy longevity lifestyle program on cognition and cerebral metabolism in people with mild age-related memory complaints.
Methods: Seventeen nondemented subjects, aged 35-69 years (mean: 53 years, standard deviation: 10) with mild self-reported memory complaints but normal baseline memory performance scores were randomly assigned to 1) the intervention group (N = 8): a program combining a brain healthy diet plan, relaxation exercises, cardiovascular conditioning, and mental exercise (brain teasers and verbal memory training techniques); or 2) the control group (N = 9): usual lifestyle routine. Pre- and postintervention measures included self-assessments of memory ability, objective tests of cognitive performance, and determinations of regional cerebral metabolism during mental rest with [fluorine-18]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET).
Results: Subjects in the intervention group objectively demonstrated greater word fluency. Concomitantly, their FDG-PET scans identified a 5% decrease in activity in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The control group showed no significant change in any of the measures.
Conclusions: A short-term healthy lifestyle program combining mental and physical exercise, stress reduction, and healthy diet was associated with significant effects on cognitive function and brain metabolism. Reduced resting activity in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex may reflect greater cognitive efficiency of a brain region involved in working memory.