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Exercise may delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease: study

July 22, 2019

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Daily physical activity shown to slow amyloid beta-related cognitive decline

Dr. Jennifer Rabin, a scientist in the Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), has shown that a higher level of daily exercise is tied to slower amyloid beta-related cognitive decline. Amyloid beta is a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease.

Further, Rabin has found that regular physical activity is also connected to a delayed reduction of gray matter. Composed of neurons and cells of the central nervous system, gray matter is associated with muscle control and sensory perception, such as memory and speech.

Rabin and her colleagues conducted a study on 182 older adults for seven consecutive days. The participants, whose average age was 73 years, wore waistband pedometers. The researchers evaluated their baseline physical activity, and found that more exercise stalled amyloid beta-linked cognitive deterioration and gray matter volume loss. Benefits were noted at even modest levels of activity.

Though the mechanisms involved in preserving brain tissue remain a mystery, the findings support the use of exercise as a way to delay cognitive decline before a person presents symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Theirs was one of the first studies to explore physical activity and amyloid levels. Results were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 and in JAMA Neurology.

» Read the full story at MedPageToday