Saturday, June 20, 2020

Preventing Alzheimer's

Don’t expect that pharmacology is going to bail you out? Recent experiments have failed to find a good medical treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. They have shown, as we often mention on this blog, that the best way to prevent cognitive decline-- that is, to sound like Joe Biden-- is to undertake a program of vigorous exercise-- preferably when you are in your forties.

So, yet again, conditioning exercise does not just do wonders for our heart health and your metabolism. It invigorates your little gray cells and saves your brain. 

This, from Ross Pomeroy at Real Clear Science (via Maggie’s Farm):

But despite a landscape of pharmaceutical solutions that's largely devoid of hope, there does exist a widely available therapeutic that has proven highly effective at preventing Alzheimer's: exercise.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, "Several prospective studies have looked at middle-aged people and the effects of physical exercise on their thinking and memory in later life. Combining the results of 11 studies shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 percent. For Alzheimer's disease specifically, the risk was reduced by 45 percent."

Those numbers are truly remarkable, but there are a few nuances. First off, physical activities like simple household chores, work-related movement, and walking do not seem to cut into Alzheimer's risk. It takes a little more effort.

"Vigorous exercise, regular exercise, leisure time physical activities, and gardening showed a positive effect toward lowering dementia risk," Yonsei University Professor Junga Lee wrote in a 2018 systematic review.

Moreover, the exercise must be regular and sustained, something like a few hours a week spread over at least three sessions. And it has to start in middle age or earlier. Initiating an exercise regimen past age sixty is highly salubrious, but it doesn't seem to pack as much of an anti-Alzheimer's punch as doing so in one's forties.

Don't say you didn't know.

1 comment:

Giordano Bruno said...