Exercise / Health

Exercise for Alzheimer’s

We recently got some exciting air time when WTNH posted this clip on an ongoing research project, funded by the Alzheimer’s Assocation, that we are conducting at Hartford Hospital:

Briefly, we know the following about exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD):

  • Individuals who are fit across their lifespan have a reduced risk of getting AD, have better cognitive function in older age, and demonstrate less brain atrophy with age
  • Aerobic exercise training increases hippocampal volume (the primary area of memory and learning that is most directly impacted by AD) and improves performance on cognitive tasks
  • Currently, there are five approved pharmacological treatments for AD, which reduce the symptoms but do not ameliorate the progression of AD
  • There are no drugs approved for prevention of AD, and the most promising pharmaceutical possibilities are still years away from human application

Therefore, aerobic exercise seems a potential intervention with which to prevent AD, particularly in individuals at risk of the disease due to family history.  The current study is recruiting sedentary individuals ages 40-60 with a family history of the disease.  Participants will then exercise 3 days/week for 45 minutes/day for 6 months, and tests of aerobic fitness as well as MRI scans for structural and functional brain outcomes will be administered. So, if you or someone you know is interested in participating, please contact Greg Panza at: gregory.panza@hhchealth.org.

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