A proof-of-concept brain imaging study suggests that exercising four or five times a week may delay the progression of Alzheimers disease in people who already have toxic buildups of beta-amyloid protein.
The new research is a 1-year randomized controlled trial led by Prof. Rong Zhang. The team published their findings in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Prof. Zhang is affiliated with the departments of neurology, neurotherapeutics, and internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas.
He and his team previously dedicated their efforts to studying the relationship between exercise and dementia. One such study that Medical News Today reported on found that aerobic exercise preserves the brain health of people with mild cognitive impairment.
Specifically, that study found that regular exercise maintains the integrity of the brain’s white matter, which encompasses billions of nerve fibers and is linked with better executive function. Executive function refers to the brain’s ability to plan, organize, and complete tasks.
Now, the new research has examined the effects of exercise in 70 adults aged 55 or over. The participants had amnestic mild cognitive impairment — the most common form of mild cognitive impairment that affects memory, in particular.
The participants’ brains also had accumulations of beta-amyloid — a protein that is a marker of Alzheimer’s when it builds up to toxic levels.
Speaking about the motivation for the new research, Prof. Zhang asks, rhetorically: “What are you supposed to do if you have amyloid clumping together in the brain? Right now doctors can’t prescribe anything.”
Source: Medical News Today