HEALTH

Regular aerobic exercise may slow progression to Alzheimer’s for those most at risk

Sep 17, 2019, 12:48 PM
aerobic exercise alzheimer's disease...
A half hour of aerobic exercise four to five times a week may prevent or slow cognitive decline in older adults who are at a high risk of developing Alzheimer's, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Photo: BSIP/UIG/Getty Images

(CNN) — A half-hour of aerobic exercise four to five times a week may prevent or slow cognitive decline in older adults who are at a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“This is the first randomized and controlled trial … to assess effects of exercise on brain structure, function and amyloid burden in older adults who have memory problems, thus, high risks of Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead author Rong Zhang, a neurology professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The study was a small proof-of-concept trial of people ages 55 and older with mild cognitive impairment. Subjects were randomized to 12 months of aerobic exercise or stretching and toning. Both aerobic and stretching may prevent or slow cognitive decline, according to the researchers, but aerobic exercise had more benefits on reducing hippocampal shrinkage than stretching. The hippocampus is a region of the brain crucial for memory.

Neither type of exercise prevented amyloid clumps — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease — from continuing to develop in the brains of the 70 adults who participated in the study. But MRI and PET imaging showed those who did aerobic exercise had slower degeneration in the hippocampus than those who did flexibility training.

“The brains of participants with amyloid responded more to the aerobic exercise than the others,” Zhang said.

“The key positive finding is that the exercise intervention specifically reduced shrinkage of the memory center in the brain in people with the earliest symptomatic stage of Alzheimer’s disease,” said neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson, who founded the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine.

“Most physicians believe in the power of exercise to support overall brain health, but fewer believe that exercise can specifically impact people with early Alzheimer’s,” Isaacson said. “This study brings us one step closer toward teasing out the effects in people with biomarker defined Alzheimer’s.”

While the study results must be replicated in much larger studies, Zhang suggested that anyone concerned about cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s consider adding exercise to their daily lives. While it’s best to start exercising early in life, he said, “it is not too late to receive the benefits of exercise even late in life when there are already amyloid clumps in the brain.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

university of utah...
Mark Jones

University of Utah Health among the nation’s top 10 for 13th year in row

The 2022 Vizient Bernard A. Birnbaum, MD, Quality Leadership Award has ranked University of Utah Health in the top 10 for the 13th straight year.
1 day ago
intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
3 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
3 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
3 days ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare purchases land near Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
4 days ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Regular aerobic exercise may slow progression to Alzheimer’s for those most at risk