Monday, 9 May 2016

Exercise Can Grow Your Brain

As this blog focuses on antiaging and longevity, I have previously covered interventions that may at least somewhat reverse age-related cognitive decline. But what about the prevention of issues such as Alzheimer's disease? Of course, particularly in situations as dire as neurological decline, prevention is better than any treatment, which brought me to a new study that I want to share with you.

Source: Mike Baird
This new study, published this year in The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, discusses a "supplement" that may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease by half. By "supplement", I mean exercise. Over 30 years, researchers followed 876 adults over the age of 65 and recorded the amounts and types of exercise that the participants reported. They also agreed to brain imaging under MRI. The researchers found that among those who engaged in higher levels of exercise, there was a 50% reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease compared to those who were sedentary. In the orbital frontal cortex of the brain, there was an approximately 55% lower risk of cognitive decline. There was also a substantial increase in the amount of grey matter in multiple regions of the brain. The lead author of the study stated that this is the first study where the predictive benefit of various types of physical activity could be associated with protection against Alzheimer's through specific relationships with increased brain volume. So if you were considering beginning a regular exercise routine this summer (or winter, if you're in the Southern hemisphere with me), I would definitely recommend it.

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