Population-wide surveys routinely identify memory loss leading to Alzheimer’s Disease as one of the greatest fears among aging Americans. While some memory loss is normal and to be expected as we age, a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) signals more substantial memory loss and a greater risk for Alzheimer’s Disease. J. Carson Smith, from the University of Maryland (Maryland, USA), and colleagues studied two groups of physically inactive older adults (ages 60 to 88 years), who were put on a 12-week exercise program that focused on regular treadmill walking and was guided by a personal trainer, meeting the WHO Guidelines of a weekly total of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise. Both groups – one which included adults with MCI and the other with healthy brain function – improved their cardiovascular fitness by about 10% at the end of the intervention. More notably, both groups also improved their memory performance and showed enhanced neural efficiency while engaged in memory retrieval tasks. Further, the team administered cognitive tests and conducted brain imaging before and after the 12-week exercise intervention. Brain scans taken after the exercise intervention showed a significant decrease in the intensity of brain activation in eleven brain regions while participants correctly identified famous names. The brain regions with improved efficiency corresponded to those involved in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, including the precuneus region, the temporal lobe, and the parahippocampal gyrus. The exercise intervention was found to be effective in improving word recall. The study authors conclude that: “These findings suggest exercise may improve neural efficiency during semantic memory retrieval in [mild cognitive impairment] and cognitively intact older adults, and may lead to improvement in cognitive function.”
J. Carson Smith, Kristy A. Nielson, Piero Antuono, Jeri-Annette Lyons, Ryan J. Hanson, Alissa M. Butts, et al. “Semantic Memory Functional MRI and Cognitive Function after Exercise Intervention in Mild Cognitive Impairment.” J Alzheimer’s Disease, 26 June 2013.
Exercise may improve cognitive function in those at-risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, by improving the efficiency of brain activity associated with memory.
Saliva from people who use cell phones as little as eight hours a month show increases in markers that correlate to potential cancer risk.
People who walk to work are 40% less likely to have diabetes, and 17% less likely to have high blood pressure, as compared to those who drive.
Sleep deprivation can make people crave junk food more than healthy food.
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Swiss team successfully develops artificial organelles that are able to support the reduction of toxic oxygen compounds within cells.
A week of exposure solely to natural light synchronizes the body’s circadian rhythm to the solar day.
Ups and downs in blood pressure may associate with a greater risk of cognitive impairment, among older adults.
Children and adults who consume fresh grapes, raisins and 100% grape juice tend to have healthier dietary patterns and improved nutrient intakes.
A family history of one type of cancer may not only increase the risk of the same variety of cancer, but of cancers at other sites as well.
People who consider themselves physically inactive are at increased risk of stroke.
County-by-county assessment reveals that, as a whole, the American population is becoming more physically active.
Both aerobic exercise and resistance training are effective at reducing body fat, among previously sedentary adolescent girls.
Moderate-intensity exercise reduces fat stored around the heart, in the liver, and in the abdomen, among type-2 diabetics.
Fifteen-minute walks taken after meals help to curb blood sugar spikes.
When given the option of walking 5,000 steps each day or paying 20% more for their health insurance, obese people opted to walk.
Increased blood levels of Vitamin D may raise the rate of muscle recovery after intensive exercise.
American Heart Association issues statement in support of aerobic exercise, resistance or strength training and isometric hand grip exercises to lower high bloo
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An at-home exercise program for people with Alzheimer's disease helps them cope with activities of daily living, without increasing health and social care costs
Tip #192 - Stay Connected
Researchers from the University of Chicago (Illinois, USA) report that social isolation may be detrimental to both mental and physical health. The team analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, a nationwide US study involving 3,000 men and women, ages 57 to 85 years. They arrived at three key findings regarding the relationships between health and different types of isolation:
• The researchers found that the most socially connected older adults are three times as likely to report very good or excellent health compared to those who are least connected, regardless of whether they feel isolated.
• The team found that older adults who feel least isolated are five times as likely to report very good or excellent health as those who feel most isolated, regardless of their actual level of social connectedness.
• They determined that social disconnectedness is not related to mental health unless it brings feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Separately, Rush University Medical Center (Illinois, USA) researchers studied 906 older men and women, testing their motor functions (including grip, pinch strength, balance, and walking) and surveying their social activity, for a period of 5 years. Those study participants with less social activity were found to have a more rapid rate of motor function decline. Specifically, the team found that every one-point decrease in social activity corresponded to an increase in functional aging of 5 years, translating to a 40% higher risk of death and 65% higher risk of disability.