Jun 28, 2012

Exercise is Key in the Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease

For those of you that are newer readers, I took my mother, Dotty, into the gym for the first time in her life when she was 88 years old.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Exercise is Key in the Fight Against Alzheimer's Disease
91 years old
I have written extensively on this site about my belief that exercise might be an effective way to delay, or even prevent, Alzheimer's disease.

I also believe that exercise is one of the most important components of an effective Alzheimer's caregiving effort.

For those of you that are newer readers, I took my mother, Dotty, into the gym for the first time in her life when she was 88 years old.

I did that after reading at least 18 studies that indicated that older people that did "real" exercise performed better cognitively than those persons that did not.

When I started Dotty in the gym she attended a low impact exercise class. After a few months I had her walking on a treadmill for 22 minutes, five times a week. I also had her doing exercises on the exercise machines you see in any good gym. This included shoulder pulls, chest pulls and chest presses, and a stand up sit down exercise that dramatically improved her balance.

Taking Dotty in the gym did improve her behavior. It was also the first in a long series of decision I made that proved to me that Alzheimer's patients are capable of "more than most people can imagine".

If you enter the word exercise into the search box on the right hand side of this page you will find a long list of articles on exercise, Dotty and exercise, and the positive cognitive effects exercise has on older people.

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Exercise is key in the fight against Alzheimer's disease

In a recent Journal of Biological Chemistry "Paper of the Week," research led by Ayae Kinoshita at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan reveals the benefits of exercise in combating Alzheimer's disease.

The most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer's disease results in the loss of cognitive faculty. In the majority of cases, Alzheimer's disease occurs after age 65, and factors such as diet and exercise appear to play a role in its development, with high-fat diets as a risk factor.

Kinoshita's research compared the effects of 1) diet control, 2) voluntary exercise and 3) diet control plus exercise in an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. The results showed that exercise was more beneficial than diet control in reducing β-amyloid formation (a defining characteristic of Alzheimer's disease) and restoring memory loss induced by a high-fat diet in these mice. Moreover, Kinoshita's team found that the effect of diet control plus exercise was not significantly different than exercise alone. They attribute the positive effects of exercise to increased degradation of β-amyloid deposits in the brain.

"Based on the results in this research," Kinoshita suggests, "exercise should be given priority to prevent Alzheimer's disease."

From the article: "Exercise is more effective than diet control in preventing high fat diet-induced β-amyloid deposition and memory deficit in amyloid precursor protein transgenic mice" by Masato Maesako, Kengo Uemura, Masakazu Kubota, Akira Kuzuya, Kazuki Sasaki, Naoko Hayashida, Megumi Asada-Utsugi, Kiwamu Watanabe, Maiko Uemura, Takeshi Kihara, Ryosuke Takahashi, Shun Shimohama and Ayae Kinoshita

Corresponding author: Ayae Kinoshita, School of Human Health Sciences, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, Japan; email: akinoshita@hs.med.kyoto-u.ac.jp

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room