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A New Study Links Physical Exercise to Slowing Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

Exercise may help to keep the brain robust in people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to an inspiring new study. The findings suggests that even moderate amounts of physical activity may help to slow the progression of one of the most dreaded diseases of aging.

A new study finds exercise can help slow down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, in people at-risk of the disease. According to the study, even moderate levels of exercise can be beneficial.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio recruited almost 100 older men and women, aged 65 to 89, many of whom had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic testing among the volunteers in the new study determined that about half of the group carried the e4 gene – which carries a substantially increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
They asked the volunteers in their new experiment how often and intensely they exercised. About half, as it turned out, didn’t move much at all. But the other half walked, jogged or otherwise exercised moderately a few times every week.

The scientists divided their volunteers into four groups, based on their e4 status and exercise habits. One group included those people with the e4 gene who did not exercise; another consisted of those with the e4 gene who did exercise; and the other two groups were composed of those without the gene who did or did not regularly exercise.

The scientists then scanned their volunteers’ brains, with particular emphasis on their hippocampi. Eighteen months later, they repeated the scans.

The brains of physically active volunteers at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease looked just like the brains of people at much lower risk for the disease. Meanwhile, the brains of sedentary people at high risk appeared to be slipping, structurally, toward dysfunction.

How exercise was guarding people’s hippocampi remains unclear, but the findings of this study are very helpful for senior service organizations as they plan programs for clients in the community that should certainly include physical and metal exercise.

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