Exercise may lower Alzheimer’s risk by reducing inflammation in the brainMarch 2nd, 2022
“Please remember the real me when I cannot remember you.”
The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia, doubles every five years beyond age 65. Sadly, it’s a progressive and fatal disease, however, much like in most of our articles – we have gone searching for new developments and hope. Alzeimer’s disease changes a person and takes away their cherished memories whilst loved ones can only watch and care for them.
In a recent study led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), it was discovered that physical activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Whilst their findings can’t slow the progression of or cure the disease, experts are getting a much better understanding and who knows what the future holds.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of brain disease, the most common form of dementia making up for 60-80% of cases. The disease is believed to begin around 20 years before symptoms start to show, they occur because nerve cells (neurons) in parts of the brain that are involved in thinking, learning and memory (cognitive function) have been damaged or destroyed. Eventually, neurons in parts of the brain that enable a person to carry out basic bodily functions such as walking and swallowing are affected. In a lot of cases, individuals become bed-bound and require around the clock care. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death of the 65+.
A decline in certain cognitive abilities such as memory and attention is typical with ageing, when taking medication or as a result of other conditions. Tests can be done to ascertain if a decline in cognitive function is simply due to ageing or related to brain disease.
What are the most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time and place
- Trouble understanding visual images
- New problems with words – speaking or writing
- Misplacing things or an inability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgement
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood or personality
What we discovered…
In the study led by the UCSF, the researchers found that physical exercise had associations with reduced activation of microglia, the primary immune cells in the brain. It’s a significant discovery because currently there is no cure for dementia or a way to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The study’s co-author, Dr Kaitlin Casaletto, a professor at UCSF, told Medical News Today, “Many studies show that physical activity relates to better brain and cognitive health (e.g., estimates indicate that inactivity alone accounts for 13% of Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide). Yet, we still do not fundamentally understand the mechanisms linking physical activity to cognition in humans. Our study is the first human data showing that microglial activation (“brain inflammation”) may be a meaningful mechanism.” The study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Too much of a good thing can be detrimental…
The nervous system is made up of two types of cells, neurons and glial cells. Glial cells protect the neurons that are responsible for sending electrical and chemical signals to the brain.
Microglial are subtypes of glial cells, they are the brain’s immune cells that become activated in response to an infection or neuro damage. They act as a security system, cleaning up dead cells and debris and killing off invading bacteria. That’s a good thing right? Yes, until there are too many microglial cells.
The problem is when the production of microglia is elevated it can cause inflammation of the brain and promote cell death, leading to a reduction in cognition in humans – potentially resulting in Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists know that physical exercise in animals reduces the activation of microglia and other brain markers of inflammation. The study investigated the relationship between physical activity and microglial activation in older adults. Given the association between physical activity and improvements in cognitive function and synaptic health, the study estimated the extent to which changes in microglial activity may support these effects of physical activity.
Researchers found that, as in animals, physical activity had associations with reduced microglial activation in older adults. Moreover, the study’s results suggest that reduced microglial activation could be one of the brain pathways through which physical activity protects individuals from cognitive decline, especially in Alzheimer’s disease.
The connection between brain health and Alzheimer’s disease is something that has left experts such as neurologists, neuropsychologists and geriatric psychiatrists frustrated in their mission to find hope for patients and carers. The burden and strain put upon family or carers dealing with a person with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming but there is help out there. There are support groups and options for respite for those people who are caring for loved ones in their homes.
Find a support group near you.
Are you concerned about your brain health? Is your memory not as good as it used to be? Looking after your brain doesn’t have to be hard work, check out these 40 simple brain health tips.
- Simple steps to better brain health
- Self-assessment dementia test
Products worth a mention: Aniracetam, NMN or Cerluten for better brain health.
Boost your memory and mental power with AniPro™! AniPro™ contains Aniracetam, which helps you think more clearly and remember more by aiding your brain’s communication infrastructure. Aniracetam has been found to significantly improve the cognitive function of patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type.
NMN (beta Nicotinamide Mononucleotide)
Your NAD+ levels have direct links to the ageing process – As we age, our NAD+ levels decline naturally, regardless of your state of health. Research shows that supplementation with NMN can support the function of sirtuins, the genes that are related to healthy ageing. NAD+ is a master regulator of metabolism and replete NAD+ levels are linked with better overall health. Research suggests that NMN may support mitochondrial function and can interfere with an age-dependent energy production decline.
CNS peptide (Cerluten®) 60 Pack
Cerluten regulates the metabolism processes in the brain cells and restoration of the central nervous system function. It helps patients with brain injuries and diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Helps patients suffering from stress, memory loss or recovering from strokes.
Further reading & References:
Recent study https://www.jneurosci.org/content/42/2/288
Find a support group near you https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you
Simple steps to better brain health https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/brain-health/think-brain-health/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=Brain-Health&utm_content=Test&gclid=CjwKCAiA9tyQBhAIEiwA6tdCrHd5ja3N2iS282AgbeLK9s5WXkX3wV8ly7Lkd8gtEFaKI0C2_WvYNxoCXegQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
Dementia test https://www.psycom.net/dementia-test/