Mental health: Preventing cognitive decline through activity

Thursday 10th May - 15:25-16:05

“Exercise has a proven role in preventing cognitive decline – it can keep our brain’s cognitive abilities alive as we age, and research even suggests it can cut the incidence of Alzheimer's disease in half. Indeed, exercise has been shown to push back cognitive decline by as much as 10–15 years.”

These are the words of Harvard professor Dr John Ratey, author of the 2008 book SPARK, which provided a compelling overview of the wide-reaching impact of exercise on the brain.

This session will explore the latest evidence around age-related decline in brain function, looking at how and where physical activity can help. Our panel of experts will offer recommendations on optimal types and duration of physical activity to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. The session will also explore ways to support an ageing population through the creation of dementia-friendly facilities and services.

Chair:
Professor Marcus Richards, Programme Leader, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London

Day 2: 15:25-16:05 Evidence

Professor Marcus Richards is a Programme Leader at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, and a Professor of Psychology in Epidemiology at the Faculty of Population Health Sciences, University College London. Marcus read Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and obtained a PhD at London University in the physiology of human learning. He has held appointments at Columbia University in New York and King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry to conduct research into neurodegenerative diseases of ageing, and was one of the first recipients of an Alzheimer's Society Research Fellowship. He joined the MRC National Survey of Health and Development team in 1996, where his work is primarily focused on developing a life course approach to mental ageing and its integration with physical health and function.


Can cognitive decline be reduced with physical activity?

Speaker:
Professor Marcus Richards, Programme Leader, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at University College London

Case study: The £18m neighbourhood hub with a dementia-friendly focus

Speaker:
Locklynne Hall, Business Director at Livewire

Speaker:
John Walker, Architect at Walker Simpson