Exercise and Alzheimer's

Exercising several times a week may delay brain deterioration in people at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study that scientists say merits further research to establish whether fitness can affect the progression of dementia.

Research from UT Southwestern found that people who had accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – experienced slower degeneration in a region of the brain crucial for memory if they exercised regularly for one year.

Full article: Exercise could slow withering effects of Alzheimer’s

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Key points of the experiment:

Exercising several times a week may delay brain deterioration in people at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease


people who had accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain – a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease – experienced slower degeneration in a region of the brain crucial for memory if they exercised regularly for one year.


…aerobic workouts can at least slow down the effects of the disease [Alzheimer’s] if intervention occurs in the early stages.


…clinical trial that included 70 participants ages 55 and older.


One group did aerobic exercise (at least a half-hour workout four to five times weekly), and another group did only flexibility training.

Both groups maintained similar cognitive abilities during the trial in areas such as memory and problem-solving. But brain imaging showed that people from the exercise group who had amyloid buildup experienced slightly less volume reduction in their hippocampus – a memory-related brain region that progressively deteriorates as dementia takes hold.

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Not to be a Debbie Downer but my granny walked many miles per day till the point where her dementia made it impossible. Physical fitness and good general health may help but it does not stop Alzheimer’s from destroying your brain.

That said it “seems” like many kinds of dementia are lumped together in general discussion and good physical fitness, diet and life style seem likely to be positive in an almost infinite number of ways for any kind of dementia. Many forms of diabetes, cancer, High Blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, depressions are caused by obesity and general inactivity So… It is never bad advice to go for a walk.

So many cofactors relate to quality of life when fit that it provides huge bang for the buck as a prescription.

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