We know that exercise can ward off many of the frailties of aging, but now we can add brain health to the lengthy list. A study published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease points out exercise as a possible way to reduce the chances of developing this debilitating disease.
The researchers followed a cohort of 876 people over 30 years in a Cardiovascular Health Study. When the people reached an average age of 78 they were subjected to various cognitive and physical tests. After correlating life style choices which included exercise, the researchers found that those who exercised regularly had bigger brain volumes.
This translated to a whopping 50% reduction in the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in the study group.
In order to maintain their healthy brain volumes, the participants only needed to engage in moderate exercise. It could be gardening, walking, or my favourite – dancing.
There are known risk factors for developing AH. Chronic inflammation, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes are all known risk factors. Other risks factors are being studied including ethnicities and mental health. Two thirds of AD sufferers are women.
There is no cure for AD which is a progressive disease which primarily affects older people.
Eventually the person with AD becomes cognitively impaired and as brain damage continues brain cells die. AD is the leading cause of dementia and death usually occurs within ten years.
Prevention is the most promising way to deal with this tragic and expensive disease. Research is progressing in that area as well, with researchers looking at the benefits of some natural spices and teas added to a balanced diet.
The disease costs a great deal of money to deal with. The disease progressed in roughly three stages. While the first stage exhibits some cognitive impairment, the patient may still live independently, but by stage 2 some help and supervision will be necessary and by stage 3 full time help is necessary.
In the US there are currently 5.3 million people with the disease. The cost of caring for them in 2015 was $226 billion. These costs are estimated to spiral to $1.1 trillion by 2050. The Alzheimer Association(American) estimates that if trends continue there will be nearly 14 million victims of the disease.
So get out the dancing shoes and tap dance your way to good health.
Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
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on Vancouver Island, Canada