Tag Archives: Alzheimers Disease

Can Exercise Cure Alzheimer’s Disease?

“A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team finds that neurogenesis — inducing the production of new neurons — in the brain structure in which memories are encoded can improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Their investigation shows that cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and that physical exercise can “clean up” that environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer’s mice,” according to a recent article in the Harvard Gazette.

According to Dr Rudi Tanzi, the senior author on this study that was partly financed by the Cure Alzheimers Fund as well as the director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Mass General Hospital, “In our study we showed that exercise is one of the best ways to turn on neurogenesis” or the creation of new brain cells. In the future, researchers will try to figure out how and why this happens and will try to replicate it using some drug or device. Meanwhile, we all just go out and exercise.

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Blood Pressure and Dementia

Given just how scary dementia and Alzheimer’s is for people, it is not a surprise that there are many different things that people are doing to help reduce their odds of getting it or improve   their quality of life once diagnosed. 

One area of interest that makes perfect sense to me is blood pressure. When your blood pressure is high (here is a link to the new updated guidelines) Hint: the definition lowered the numbers considered high), you are putting your circulation system under undo stress and are putting yourself at risk of many things including stroke and one form of dementia is specifically tied to stroke.

Worried About Dementia? You Might Want to Check Your Blood Pressure is an article on NPR.org recently that goes into more detail in this area. 

So what can you do? Obviously have your blood pressure checked regularly. However instead of just checking it every year until it gets too high and then taking a prescription drug, why not get ahead of the game by exercising and losing weight. Exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressure and has many other benefits as well.

If would you like to join our group or just want to get our newsletter and see what crazy things we are up to, how we eat, how we work out and how we drive ourselves to be better even at our age, then click HERE to register for the mailing list.

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Stress is making you older. But what can you do about it?

“Stressful events in life, such as the death of a child, divorce or being fired, can age the brain by at least four years as reported by the BBC this week.

Don’t we have enough trouble already these days? Politics, global warming, health care, our kids coming back home to live with us and now we can’t just enjoy a little stress?

The study, reported at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London, looked at performance in memory and thinking tests of 1,300 people in their 50s to gauge brain health.

“Although the research could not establish any direct link between stress and an increased risk of dementia, stressful experiences are known to have an impact on brain function, which could then lead to dementia in the longer term.”

Brain age and dementia could be linked but just as important we don’t want our brains to age prematurely any more than we want our muscles to atrophy and our mobility to be impaired. The idea is to not just increase lifespan but also to increase your “healthspan” – how long you can live while doing that which you enjoy whatever it is.

Stressful experiences across all groups included educational difficulties, financial insecurity, serious health problems and psychological trauma. The thinking goes that stress increases inflammation and that inflammation can cause premature aging of the brain. Inflammation is also probably a key factor in other major problems like cancer and heart disease.

So, now what? The most obvious thing to do is to reduce stress, right?  Good luck. Most people can’t just decide to reduce the stress in their lives. But if you can certainly try. Maybe kick that millennial kid out of the house. But what else can we do? The next best thing to reducing stress is to improve how your body reacts to it and two great ways to do that are meditation and exercise.

What strategies have you used to reduce stress?

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