Older adults that improved their fitness through a moderate intensity exercise program increased the thickness of their brain’s cortex, the outer layer of the brain that typically atrophies with Alzheimer’s disease.
By Alzheimer's Reading Room
I'm bringing this research up for a very important reason.
I decided to take my mother into the gym for the first time when she was 88 years old. I already new that any person regardless of age can grow new brain cells.
My logic at the time was simple and straightforward - if I could help my mother make new brain cells it might be possible to delay the progression of Alzheimer's in her brain - slow it down.
Did it work? I believe it did.
MY mother, who was tested often, was still able to do things that surprised even the best scientist. Her scores on memory tests would have indicated this was incapable of doing many of the things she was in fact doing.
I hope you will take the time to read and share this article with others. If a person was able to delay the onset of Alzheimer's for 5 years then it would be likely in most cased that they would die before they were ever diagnosed.
I want you to keep in mind I am not a medical doctor; nor, am I a scientist. These are my beliefs - nothing more, nothing less.
I think every person that has been touched by Alzheimer's should start a serious exercise program. If you do so then one thing appears to be certain - you will grow new brain cells in the part of your brain that counts.
This is described in the information presented below.
Improving Fitness May Counteract Brain Atrophy in Older Adults
- Older adults that improved their fitness through a moderate intensity exercise program increased the thickness of their brain’s cortex, the outer layer of the brain that typically atrophies with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Public Health.
- These effects were found in both healthy older adults and those diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Many people think it is too late to intervene with exercise once a person shows symptoms of memory loss, but our data suggest that exercise may have a benefit in this early stage of cognitive decline.”
The atrophy of the brain’s cortical layer is a marker of Alzheimer’s disease progression and correlates with symptoms including cognitive impairment. Dr. Smith and colleagues found that the study participants who showed the greatest improvements in fitness had the most growth in the cortical layer, including both the group diagnosed with MCI and the healthy elders.
"Regular exercise may be an especially beneficial intervention to counteract cortical atrophy in all risk groups, and may provide protection against future cognitive decline in both healthy elders and MCI."
"These findings suggest exercise may improve neural efficiency during semantic memory retrieval in MCI and cognitively intact older adults, and may lead to improvement in cognitive function".
"These data suggest that individuals at genetic risk for AD should be targeted for increased levels of PA as a means of reducing atrophy in a brain region critical for the formation of episodic memories."
- Participants showed greater improvements compared to healthy group in the left insula and superior temporal gyrus, two brain regions that have been shown to exhibit accelerated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other research has also shown that moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking for 30 minutes 3-4 days per week, may protect brain health by staving off shrinkage of the hippocampus in older adults.
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