Navigation Links
Regular Walking May Slow Decline of Alzheimer's
Date:11/30/2010

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that walking about five miles a week may help slow the progression of cognitive illness among seniors already suffering from mild forms of cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.

In fact, even healthy people who do not as yet show any signs of cognitive decline may help stave off brain illness by engaging in a similar level of physical activity, the study team noted.

An estimated 2.4 million to 5.1 million people in the United States are estimated to have Alzheimer's disease, which causes a devastating, irreversible decline in memory and reasoning, according to National Institute on Aging.

The researchers were slated to present the findings Monday in Chicago at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"Because a cure for Alzheimer's is not yet a reality, we hope to find ways of alleviating disease progression or symptoms in people who are already cognitively impaired," lead author Cyrus Raji, of the department of radiology at the University of Pittsburgh, said in a RSNA news release.

"We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer's and MCI, especially in areas of the brain's key memory and learning centers," he said. "We also found that these people had a slower decline in memory loss over five years."

To assess the impact that physical exercise might have on Alzheimer's progression (as well as that of less severe brain illnesses), the researchers analyzed data from an ongoing 20-year study that gauged weekly walking patterns among 426 adults.

Among the participants, 127 were diagnosed as cognitively impaired -- 83 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 44 with Alzheimer's. About half of all cases of MCI eventually progress to Alzheimer's. The rest were deemed cognitively healthy, with an overall average age of between 78 and 81.

A decade into the study, all the patients had 3-D MRI scans to assess brain volume. In addition, the team administered a test called the mini-mental state exam (MMSE) to pinpoint cognitive decline over a five-year period.

After accounting for age, gender, body-fat composition, head size and education, Raji and his colleagues determined that the more an individual engaged in physical activity, the larger his or her brain volume. Greater brain volume, they noted, is a sign of a lower degree of brain cell death as well as general brain health.

In addition, walking about five miles a week appeared to protect against further cognitive decline (while maintaining brain volume) among those participants already suffering from some form of cognitive impairment.

This indication was bolstered by the mini-mental state exam results, which revealed that cognitively impaired patients who met the walking threshold experienced only a one-point drop in cognition scores over a five-year period. By contrast, those who didn't walk sufficiently experienced an average decline of five points.

Physical activity had a similar impact on the protection of cognitive abilities in healthy adults, although their exercise threshold was deemed to be about six miles per week of walking.

"Alzheimer's is a devastating illness and, unfortunately, walking is not a cure," Dr. Raji said. "But walking can improve your brain's resistance to the disease and reduce memory loss over time."

Dr. Robert Friedland, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Louisville's School of Medicine in Kentucky, expressed little surprise at the findings, but cautioned against inferring a direct cause-and-effect link between walking and protection against cognitive decline.

"In an observational study like this, undoubtedly people who are developing cognitive disease or are likely to be in the early stages are also likely to become less active," he noted. "So, it's not possible to be sure that they're observing a direct effect of walking on the disease, because diminished walking in the group that is progressing more rapidly could have been a direct result of the disease itself."

"But that's not to say that I don't think walking is a good idea," Friedland added. "Many people, including my group, have shown that physical as well as mental activity may be protective against developing disease during midlife -- that is, between [ages] 20 and 60. And I'm sure that this is also true in later life."

"And there are many reasons why: physical activity improves blood flow to the brain, and it changes neurotransmitters and improves cardiac function," he said. "It lessens the risk of obesity, improves insulin resistance and lowers the risk of diabetes, and lowers your blood pressure. And all of these things are risk factors for Alzheimer's disease."

"So, I would say that everyone at all ages should be encouraged to get as much physical exercise as they can tolerate," Friedland concluded. "Of course, we don't want people to exercise excessively if they have heart disease, for example. But with a physician's advice and supervision, walking is an excellent form of activity."

Since the research was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be seen as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more on Alzheimer's and physical activity, visit the Alzheimer's Association.

-- Alan Mozes

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America meeting, Nov. 29, 2010, news release.


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Regular exercise reduces large number of health risks including dementia and some cancers
2. Omega-3 Supplements Wont Fight Irregular Heartbeat
3. Pradaxa Approved to Fight Dangerous Irregular Heartbeat, Stroke
4. Surgery May Be Best for Irregular Heartbeat in Young
5. Inhibiting prostate cancer without disturbing regular body processes
6. Fowl news: Hints from Taiwan that free-range eggs may be less healthy than regular eggs
7. Laser Used to Blast Away Cells Causing Irregular Heartbeat
8. Regular Guy "Braco" Healing Masses in Europe
9. Treating Common Irregular Heartbeat Might Also Ward Off Alzheimers
10. Did Regular Flu Shot Up Risks for H1N1 Flu?
11. Maintaining regular daily routines is associated with better sleep quality in older adults
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Regular Walking May Slow Decline of Alzheimer's 
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of ... rating of “A” and its outlook as “stable.” At the same time, the ratings ... fallen in recent years, dip below “capital adequacy” thresholds required for its strong rating. ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Ushio ... These lamps offer an instant energy-saving solution for F32T8 fluorescent lamps on most ... disconnect ballasts. These 50,000 hour rated lamps utilize the existing electronic ballast, saving ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... The Texas Cord Blood Bank (TCBB), a ... and delivery team at Women’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg for their outstanding efforts ... hospital and decide to donate. , “Women’s Hospital at Renaissance has been a ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 28, 2017 , ... Bill Howe started his sewer and drain company in ... Howe joined the team, the Bill Howe brand was born and they began cultivating ... giving back to the San Diego community in which they worked, lived and were ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... assisting the Brooke Grove Foundation implement a Microsoft Dynamics GP solution that integrates ... leading ERP expert that specializes in long-term care, Brooke Grove now has the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... -- Vivify Health, the pioneer and market leader of remote ... significant patent for the advancement of healthcare delivery from ... health.  This landmark patent provides the company with broad ... position as the leader in remote care.  ... to apply consumer mobile devices, wireless biometrics, EMR integration ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... 20, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... Driven by Rapidly Expanding Injectables Market and Increasing Usage of Complex ... ... technologies will rise from USD 20 Billion in 2015 to around ... Delivery Technologies - Innovation Driven by Rapidly Expanding Injectables Market and ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... April 20, 2017 Research and Markets ... Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key ... to their offering. ... global pharmacogenomics market was valued at US$ 7,167.6 Mn in ... 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.6% from 2016 to ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: