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Posted on 03-08-2013

EXERCISE TO FIGHT ALZHEIMERS

Good Morning!

The June 12, 2012 issue of the journal Neurobiology of Disease recently investigated into the effects exercise has on alzheimers disease.  Alzheimer's is a deterioration of brain function which ultimately can lead to death and is painful for many families who have a loved one that lives but can remember nothing about their life.

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE:

1) “Alzheimer's disease (AD) afflicts more than 5.4 million Americans and is the most common type of dementia, yet effective drug treatments have not been identified.”

2) “Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects more than one in eight Americans over the age of 65 and nearly half of those over the age of 85.”

3) Today there are about 40 million people with AD (worldwide), and in 2050, AD will soar to over 100 million people.

4) “Physical activity enhances learning and memory for people of all ages, including individuals that suffer from cognitive impairment.”

5) Physical activity reinstates brain function by enhancing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and other growth factors that promote neurogenesis, angiogenesis, and synaptic plasticity.

6) “Physical activity counteracts age- and AD-associated declines in mitochondrial and immune system function. A growing body of evidence also suggests that exercise interventions hold the potential to reduce the pathological features associated with AD.”

7) Exercise is a powerful stimulus that can reverse the molecular changes that underlie the progressive loss of hippocampal function in advanced age and AD.

8) “Exercise promotes dynamic changes that facilitate brain function.” “Exercise promotes brain health in advancing age and AD.”

9) Physical activity is a protective factor against cognitive impairment and dementia.

10) The risk of AD is inversely correlated to levels of daily exercise, even with walking as little as one mile per day.

11) “The leading modifiable risk factor for AD in the United States is physical inactivity, which increases the relative risk of AD by almost two-fold.”

12) Exercise significantly improves cognitive performance, memory and attention in individuals with cognitive impairment.

13) Exercise slows the rate of cognitive decline. Exercise is a potent strategy to alter the trajectory of cognitive decline.

14) “AD patients that undergo 5 to 12 weeks of moderate exercise show enhanced memory and improved performance on neuropsychological tests.”

15) “Physical activity supports brain health even when initiated after the appearance of AD pathology.”

16) Exercise increases BDNF. “ BDNF plays an important role in synaptic plasticity (brain interconnections) by promoting long-term potentiation (LTP), a synaptic analog of learning and memory.”

17) “Physical activity has been shown to enhance neuronal morphology by increasing synaptic density and dendritic arborization in the hippocampus.”

18) “Exercise reverses the decline in neurogenesis that occurs with age and elicits favorable effects on neuroplasticity.”

19) Exercise increases brain glucose utilization and enhances proliferation leading to enhanced blood flow.

20) “Exercise-induced neural activation in the hippocampus requires enhanced mitochondrial (energy powerhouses of cells) capacity to produce ATP from the oxidative phosphorylation of glucose.” Exercise enhances mitochondrial proliferation and respiration. This mitochondrial biogenesis greatly enhances metabolic capacity and the expression of both nuclear and mitochondrial genes.

21) Mitochondrial DNA has a high mutation rate and limited repair mechanisms. Physical activity attenuates mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and dysfunction.

22) Exercise improves mitochondrial respiration. “The tuning of mitochondrial function may be an example of a central mechanism by which exercise protects against cognitive decline.”

23) An increase in brain inflammation is a risk factor in cognitive dysfunction. Inflammation is tightly associated with memory deficits in the elderly. Regular moderate exercise is associated with reduced systemic inflammation.
Exercise may alleviate the pro-inflammatory immune responses that characterize aging.

24)  Physical activity may confer enhanced protection from infection.

25)  “There are three major Apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles in humans, ε2, ε3 and ε4, but only ε4 is associated with increased risk for AD.” “At least some of the neural consequences of carrying the ε4 isoform may be overcome by physical exercise.” “Those with genetic susceptibility to AD stand to gain the most from physical activity.”

26) “Exercise is an emerging therapeutic strategy that improves the function of mitochondria, immune system, and can mitigate the neurodegeneration inherent in AD and advancing age. By inducing neurotrophins and growth factors that enhance neuroplasticity, physical activity can significantly improve hippocampal function to a degree even with advancing age and disease.”

27) “Exercise has emerged as an efficacious therapeutic strategy that yields broad benefits to cognitive function."

Yet another reason we need to stay active all the way through life.  Share this with someone you care about!

Have a blessed weekend!

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