Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Can Exercise Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk?

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, NYT
July 2, 2014 2:02 pm

Exercise may help to keep the brain robust in people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to an inspiring new study. The findings suggests that even moderate amounts of physical activity may help to slow the progression of one of the most dreaded diseases of aging.

For the new study, which was published in May in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio recruited almost 100 older men and women, aged 65 to 89, many of whom had a family history of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease, characterized by a gradual and then quickening loss of memory and cognitive functioning, can strike anyone. But scientists have discovered in recent years that people who harbor a specific variant of a gene, known as the APOE epsilon4 allele or the e4 gene for short, have a substantially increased risk of developing the disease.

Genetic testing among the volunteers in the new study determined that about half of the group carried the e4 gene, although, at the start of the study, none showed signs of memory loss beyond what would be normal for their age.

Then the scientists set out to more closely examine their volunteers’ brains.

(More here.)

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