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Everyday Activities Might Lower Alzheimer's Risk
Date:4/18/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that elderly people who move around more -- even gardening or puttering around the house -- are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than more sedentary seniors.

The study doesn't confirm that being active lowers the risk of Alzheimer's, an age-related degenerative brain disease. It's possible that another factor explains the link; perhaps the very early stages of Alzheimer's cause people to slow down.

Still, the findings suggest that "an active lifestyle may be good for you. Even if you can't exercise, increasing all kinds of movements may be beneficial in the long term," said study lead author Dr. Aron Buchman, an associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago.

Previous research has pointed to a possible link between exercise and healthy brains. "Cardiovascular conditioning gets our hearts to pump oxygen and nutrients to our brain cells, which helps them communicate more effectively and protects neural health," said Dr. Gary Small, a brain researcher and director of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was not involved with the study.

By 2030, it is estimated that the number of Americans older than 65 will double to 80 million. Given this surge, the authors say the new study has significant public health implications.

In the study, researchers wanted to see if simply moving around -- not necessarily working up a sweat -- might make a difference.

The study looked at 716 people without dementia -- average age 82, including 602 women -- whose activity was tracked for as many as 10 days with the help of a device that measures movement. The device, called an actigraph, picks up traditional forms of exercise, such as walking and swimming, but also monitors when people fidget or move around the house, said study lea
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