New Research Shows That People With Better Physical Fitness Have Less Brain Atrophy in Alzheimer's
Posted Aug 23 2008 11:56pm
I have been writing about Alzheimer's and exercise on the Alzheimer's Reading Room blog for years. I believe that exercise is a key component in fighting off the devastating effects of Alzheimer's on my mother--now 92 years old.
Exercising in a gym also gives my mother an added boost by keeping her socialized. Most days my mother goes kicking and screaming to the gym. On the way out she has a smile on her face, better balance while walking, and I feel like we are fighting the good fight.
I should mention that I am also getting some obvious benefits. If you are predisposed to Alzheimer's by birth you really need to incorporate Alzheimer's into your daily return.
People with early Alzheimer’s disease who had better fitness ratings had less atrophy in key brain areas associated with memory, according to research reported today at the 2008 Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2008) in Chicago.
This is the first time that MRI brain imaging has been used to demonstrate the connection between cardiorespiratory fitness and Alzheimer’s-related brain changes in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory and spatial navigation. In Alzheimer's, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage.
"We found that, in early-stage Alzheimer’s, cardiorespiratory fitness is correlated with regional brain volumes in key areas affected by the disease," said Honea. "This suggests that maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness may positively modify Alzheimer’s-related brain atrophy."