Poor health choices could eventually shrink your brain, study finds

WASHINGTON — Attention, baby boomers: It’s never too late to start exercising.

That’s the main message from new research from Boston University, which found that people who stay active during their 40s and 50s maintain brain size as they age.

In this study, more than 1,500 people whose average age was 40 and who had no dementia or heart disease took a treadmill test. Twenty years later, they took the same test and an MRI brain scan.

The study found that those who did not perform well on the treadmill test in their 40s had smaller brains 20 years later.

Researchers also found that those with high blood pressure and high heart rate during exercise also had smaller brain sizes later in life.

“Over the course of a lifetime, improved blood flow may have an impact on brain aging and prevent cognitive decline in older age,” Dr. Nicole Spartano tells CNN. “The broad message is that health and lifestyle choices that you make throughout your life may have consequences many years later.”

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