Exercise may help boost brain power in people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.
The findings suggest even moderate amounts of physical activity may help to slow the progression of the memory-robbing condition, The New York Times
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The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, involved almost 100 older men and women, aged 65 to 89, many of whom had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers asked the volunteers in their new experiment how often and intensely they exercised. About half didn’t exercise much at all. But the other half walked, jogged, or otherwise exercised moderately a few times every week.
In the end, 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.
Brain scans indicated those of physically active volunteers tended to resemble the brains of people at much lower risk for the disease — even when those individuals had brain features that naturally placed them at higher risk for dementia.
Meanwhile, the brains of sedentary people at high risk appeared to be slipping, structurally, toward dysfunction.
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