Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease for sufferers and their families. It can rob those diagnosed with the condition of their memory and mental capacity, and leave families devastated and struggling to cope with a loved one they no longer recognise.
Now, new research shows that we can all do something to help prevent ever being diagnosed with the condition. According to a new study, those who exercise at least four times every week can improve their mental capacity and dramatically reduce their risk of developing the condition.
Type of exercise
Scientists used a new MRI technique and found that adults who had mild cognitive impairment who did four exercise sessions per week for half a year noticed a marked improvement in brain volume. And, there was an even greater difference, depending on which exercise activity they took part in. Those who took part in aerobic exercise had even more marked gains in brain volume than those who carried out stretching exercises.
The research findings were revealed at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The study’s lead author Dr Laura Baker, who is based at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, said that there had been remarkable changes in the brains of those who took part in the research.
Thirty-five people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were chosen to take part in the trial as those with MCI are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s, which is the most common type of dementia. Sixteen of those took part in aerobic exercise, including running, cycling or elliptical training four times per week. Meanwhile, the second group took part in stretching exercises. MRI images were then used to compare brain volume in each group.Brain volume increased in both groups, but the aerobic group saw the biggest benefits.