An Alzheimer's Cure: Chess & Champagne At Simpsons

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David Gilbert
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:03 am

Re: An Alzheimer's Cure: Chess & Champagne At Simpsons

Post by David Gilbert » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:04 pm

I'm being examined to death. My seventh round of tests and exercises due tomorrow. All part of the Whitehall II Health and Stress Study, which has been running since 1985 and is probably the largest longitudinal study of its kind in the world, and had two papers referenced in the recent NICE guidelines on dementia.

Sabia S, Singh‑Manoux A, Hagger‑Johnson G et al. (2012) Influence of individual and combined healthy behaviours on successful aging. Canadian Medical Association Journal doi: 10.1503/cmaj.121080

Singh‑Manoux A, Marmot MG, Glymour M et al. (2011) Does cognitive reserve shape cognitive decline? Annals of Neurology 70: 296–304

The Whitehall II Study has slowly morphed into one of old age. The original cohort of 10,000 has whittled down to around 7,700. A remarkable feat to retain such a large block of the cohort over 30 years. I spoke to two of the researchers, Professor Eric Brunner and Stephanie Smith, on the sidelines of the 30th Anniversary Conference at UCL in November 2015 and they are going to consider the possibility of including a question on mind games (a chess sub-set would probably be too small to draw any conclusions), perhaps in the wider context of “hobbies”, as they design the 2020/21 programme with research focus groups. It's possible that evidence could emerge around 2025 on the incidence or early onset of dementia among those who participate in mind games and other hobbies, and those who do something else.

Possibly one of the important findings, and significant reassurances for chess players, to come out of the Whitehall II Study so far is that long-term sitting is not a cause of premature mortality. Richard M. Pulsford, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Annie R. Britton, Eric J. Brunner and Melvyn Hillsdon; Associations of sitting behaviours with all-cause mortality over a 16-year follow-up: the Whitehall II study; International Journal of Epidemiology; October 2015 Phew!

Time to sit down and take another nap.

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