Little bit of physical activity protects the brain against hereditary form of Alzheimer's
Exercise is good for the aging brain. A lifestyle with some physical activity lowers the chance of Alzheimers disease and others types of dementia, and this also applies to hereditary forms of Alzheimer's disease, German neurologists at the University of Tubingen discovered.
The researchers used data from 372 people who participated in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network Study. In this project neurologists study people with genes that make them develop Alzheimer's disease. The study participants received these genes form one of their parents. Neurologists then speak of autosomal dominant Alzheimers disease [ADAD].
The researchers determined the amount of physical activity of the participants, and divided them into 2 groups: a group that cycled, walked of exercised for less than 150 minutes/week [low], and a group that exercised more [high].
On average, the participants with a lot of physical activity scored 3.4 points higher on the Mini Mental State Examination questionnaire [MMSE] than the study participants with low levels of physical activity. The best score possible on the MMSE is 30. If you score lower than 23, then there may be something wrong with the functioning of your brain.
Another questionnaire that the study participants completed was the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Sum of Boxes [CDR-SOB]. The best score that you can achieve on the CDR-SOB is 0, the worst 18. A score of 3 may indicates mild dementia.
The researchers discovered that the study participants with high physical activity levels showed signs of mild dementia15.1 years later than the participants who exercised relatively little.
"A physically active lifestyle is achievable and may play an important role in delaying the development and progression of autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease", write the researchers. "Individuals at genetic risk for dementia should therefore be counselled to pursue a physically active lifestyle."
"There is a growing and increasingly strong body of scientific evidence of the beneficial impact of lifestyle factors in reducing the risk for, and perhaps even preventing, cognitive decline and dementia", comments Maria Carrillo, Chief Science Officer van de Alzheimer's Association, in a press release. [sciencedaily.com September 25, 2018]
"The results of this study are encouraging, and not only for individuals with rare genetically-caused Alzheimer's disease. If further research confirms this relationship between physical activity and later onset of dementia symptoms in autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease, then we need to expand the scope of this work to see if it also is true in the millions of people with more common, late onset Alzheimer's."
Alzheimers Dement. 2018 Sep 21. pii: S1552-5260(18)33248-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.3059. [Epub ahead of print].
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Alzheimer's & Dementia