Carol Adamitis had a stroke when she was 5 years old.
Now, at 65, she is participating in research that annually tests her physical and mental health, examining her dexterity as she places pegs in a board and her memory as she repeats a series of numbers backward and forward.
The study, led by professors at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, has found that people who are active are sharper and experience lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Although Adamitis’ arthritis makes exercise more difficult, and the stroke hurt her math skills and memory, her exam results show consistency from year to year.
“I’m always glad to know how I did on these tests. So far, I’m doing about the same,” Adamitis said.
The study was published last week in the online issue of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology’s medical journal.
“We’ve shown for cognition that an active lifestyle increases the quality of life in old age and lowers the levels of disability,” Dr. Aron S. Buchman, associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush and one of the study’s authors, said. “When you hear the results, they sound kind of intuitive: If older people are more active, you can see they’re doing better. This kind of information is helpful. Even at age 82, you can improve independence and quality of life.”
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