On Thursday the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) reported that 3 new (randomized controlled) trials demonstrated the positive impact aerobic exercise plays in patients with varying degrees of dementia. The new well-controlled trials provide further hope to millions that we can impact the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
From the AAIC press release: “There is a convincing body of evidence that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, and possibly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In healthy older people, studies suggest physical exercise can improve cognition. However, until now, whether physical exercise could improve symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s, or beneficially impact the physical changes in the brain caused by the disease, was unknown.”
“Based on the results we heard reported today at AAIC 2015, exercise or regular physical activity might play a role in both protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and also living better with the disease if you have it,” – Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer
Impact of Exercise on Alzheimer’s Disease
The 3 studies involved in the research were:
- The Danish ADEX Study, the first large, controlled trial of moderate to high intensity exercise in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s in Denmark. Steen Hasselbalch, MD, and colleagues from the Danish Dementia Research Centre (DDRC), Copenhagen, Denmark
- A Tau Protein Study, a 6-month randomized controlled trial of moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise in 65 sedentary adults 55-89 years old with MCI (mild cognitive impairment) to test whether aerobic exercise might also lower tau levels in the brain. Researchers Laura Baker, PhD and colleagues from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston Salem NC, USA
- An Aerobic Exercise in VCI Study, a six-month study of 71 adults 56-96 years old with confirmed cases of mild VCI (vascular cognitive impairment). Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Canada Research Chair, PhD, PT, University of British Columbia and researcher at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health
Each of the 3 studies showed a positive correlation between exercise and the impact it can have on certain dementias. The Alzheimer’s Association further reports that “There is a growing body of evidence that certain lifestyle choices, such as staying mentally active, eating a heart-healthy diet and staying socially engaged, can slow cognitive decline as people age.” It’s never to late to improve your health!
Click here to see the Alzheimer’s Associations new infographic titled 10 Ways to Love your Brain!