Tag Archives: Physical exercise

Dr. Mirkin: exercise reduces dementia risk

14 Aug

You can find it here. Dr. Mirkin points out:

“Everything that helps to prevent heart attacks also helps protect you from losing your mind. Three more studies show that exercising, eating a healthful diet, and avoiding overweight, smoking and alcohol are all associated with lowered risk for dementia. Of these five healthful lifestyle components, exercise had the greatest effect on preserving memory and thinking.”


More good news on exercise and Alzheimer’s

4 Jul

From The New York Times, “Can Exercise Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk?”

“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.”

You can read the original paper here. Here is the abstract:

“We examined the impact of physical activity (PA) on longitudinal change in hippocampal volume in cognitively intact older adults at varying genetic risk for the sporadic form of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Hippocampal volume was measured from structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans administered at baseline and at an 18-month follow-up in 97 healthy, cognitively intact older adults. Participants were classified as High or Low PA based on a self-report questionnaire of frequency and intensity of exercise. Risk status was defined by the presence or absence of the apolipoprotein E-epsilon 4 (APOE-ε4) allele. Four subgroups were studied: Low Risk/High PA (n = 24), Low Risk/Low PA (n = 34), High Risk/High PA (n = 22), and High Risk/Low PA (n = 17). Over the 18 month follow-up interval, hippocampal volume decreased by 3% in the High Risk/Low PA group, but remained stable in the three remaining groups. No main effects or interactions between genetic risk and PA were observed in control brain regions, including the caudate, amygdala, thalamus, pre-central gyrus, caudal middle frontal gyrus, cortical white matter (WM), and total gray matter (GM). These findings suggest that PA may help to preserve hippocampal volume in individuals at increased genetic risk for AD. The protective effects of PA on hippocampal atrophy were not observed in individuals at low risk for AD. These data suggest that individuals at genetic risk for AD should be targeted for increased levels of PA as a means of reducing atrophy in a brain region critical for the formation of episodic memories.”


Risk factors for early-onset dementia

17 Mar

A paper “Cardiovascular and cognitive fitness at age 18 and risk of early-onset dementia” in the journal Brain, reports:

 “lower cardiovascular fitness and cognitive performance in early adulthood were associated with an increased risk of early-onset dementia and mild cognitive impairment later in life, and the greatest risks were observed for individuals with a combination of low cardiovascular fitness and low cognitive performance.”

Here is a good summary in Science Daily.

As always, we must remember that correlation is not causation and we cannot directly infer from this study that exercise and better diet will prevent early-onset dementia. One website reported the study this way: “Physical Fitness During Teens Prevents Early Onset of Dementia: Study,” a claim that, while plausible, goes beyond the evidence actually reported in the study.


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Motivating people to take the stairs

12 Feb

From The Fun Theory.

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“Substantial health benefits to exceeding the current exercise guidelines”

9 Dec

This study has been attracting a lot of media attention. Here is a good summary in The New York Times.

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Protein produced during exercise linked to cognitive improvement

12 Oct

Thanks to my sister-in-law Kathy for drawing my attention to this article from the Harvard Medical School. It reports on a paper from the journal Cell Metabolism. Here is the summary:

“A protein increased by endurance exercise has been isolated and given to non-exercising mice, turning on genes that promote brain health and encourage the growth of new nerves involved in learning and memory, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have reported.”

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