Researchers found that higher levels of the daily movement were linked to better thinking and memory skills.
Previous research has shown that some people with Alzheimer's disease-related brain changes (eg, amyloid deposition) can have few characteristic symptoms of the disease (cognitive and functional decline), whereas others with few brain changes may have symptoms. "Even though there is no treatment for Alzheimer's disease pathology [what's actually causing the problem], this study suggests that maintaining a more active lifestyle can counter some of the deleterious effects". Brain plaques and tangles were measured after death to quantify Alzheimer's disease-related changes.
"By reducing an individual's physiological reserve, frailty could trigger the clinical expression of dementia when it might remain asymptomatic in someone who is not frail", said study leader Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.
The study included 454 participants who lived to an average age of 90.
The research showed that exercise is an low-cost way to improve health, create protective effect on the brain. To measure daily activity, the participants wore activity trackers continuously for a period of approximately seven days (on average, this recording had been collected about two years before each participant died). All participants were given physical exams and thinking and memory tests every year for 20 years. Today we are committed to ensuring the rights of people both living with dementia and their carers are recognised, and until the day we find a cure, we will be here to support anyone affected by dementia.
The study also found that people who had better motor skills - skills that help with movement and coordination -also had better thinking and memory skills.
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Further analysis showed that each standard deviation increase in physical activity was associated with a 31% decreased likelihood of developing dementia. For every increase in motor ability by one standard deviation, participants were 55 percent less likely to develop dementia.
Overall, 35 participants (8%) had substantial Alzheimer's disease-related brain changes without having been diagnosed with dementia, and 50 (11%) had Alzheimer's dementia but had little disease-related brain changes (table 2). The relationship between activity and test scores was consistent even when researchers adjusted for the severity of participants' brain lesions.
However, it should be noted that the study does not provide evidence of cause and effect, he adds: "It may also be possible that as people lose memory and thinking skills, they reduce their physical activity".
FRIDAY, Jan. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) - Frailty is associated with a higher risk of both Alzheimer's disease and its crippling symptoms, a new study shows.
Another limitation was that the study did not collect data on how active individuals were earlier in life, which also may have played a role in cognitive function later on. "More studies are needed to determine if moving more is truly beneficial to the brain", Buchman explained in a statement.