What if it were true that exercise could halt or diminish the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
As reported by The Washington Post online, proof is steadily mounting that physical activity can help hold off the changes in the brain that are commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe even the debilitating symptoms themselves. The latest findings come from researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The study followed 317 late-middle aged adults and found that those who exercised five times a week, or more, demonstrated fewer of the age-related changes in the brain that are linked to the disease. They also did better on cognitive tests.
“What we have shown here,” said Ozioma Okonkwo, an assistant professor of medicine at the school and the lead researcher, “is that physical activity diminishes the deleterious influence of age.” To provide a brief look at the science behind the study, the people who exercised showed less accumulation of “beta amyloid plaque,” the proteins that clump up in the brain of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. They also demonstrated less shrinkage on the hippocampus and less reduction in the use of glucose in the brain, two other symptoms of the disease.
What’s even more interesting is that participants in the study were recruited from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, making three quarters of the study population those who have a family history and are, therefore, more prone to developing the disease. They were assigned a workout of moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, at least five times a week. When researchers tested this active group, they found that those who regularly worked out, did better on memory and visual-spatial tests.
All the more reason to get off the couch and get our bodies moving.