Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Aerobics May Aid in Slowing Down Alzheimer's Disease


      Alzheimer's Disease is a commonly known disease that causes memory loss and loss of brain function altogether through the death of brain cells. Research done by Laura Baker and others for 8th International Conference on Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's Disease (CTAD) is showing that "Aerobic exercise reduces neurodegneration in older adults at risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease." (Aerobic Excercise...)

     The study primarily focused on tau and beta amyloid which are proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that are affected by Alzheimer's Disease. While CSF levels of tau increase, CSF levels of beta amyloid decrease when paired with Alzheimer's Disease. To study aerobic exercise's effect on this trend, Baker recruited adults from ages 55 to 89 with "mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and prediabetes" and collected their CSF and blood at the beginning and end of the study. (Aerobic Exercise..) For six months, these adults were split into two groups that either did high-intensity aerobics or stretching for 45 to 60 minutes four times a week. The group who participated showed beneficial effects on both beta amyloid and tau CSF levels. The subjects also showed increased blood flow in the brain while at rest. Low blood flow in the brain normally declines with aging.

    Although the study showed beneficial effects on the cerebrospinal fluid levels of tau and beta amyloid, it is still unclear if aerobic exercise "revers[es] the process, protect[s] the brain, or buy[s] some time" overall. It is commonly known that exercise is beneficial not only to weight loss, but it was surprising to see that simple activities such as aerobics can help in fighting or slowing diseases such as Alzheimer' disease. It opened my eyes to see that easy everyday things such as a certain type of exercise can be way more beneficial than expected. The original article can be found here.

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