Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

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It is no real surprise that an active lifestyle is beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers from the University of California have now added another piece to the puzzle to understand how physical activity improves brain health and helps people with Alzheimer’s disease. According to their study, published in JNeurosci, exercise may play a role in reducing immune cell activation. The brain’s immune cells, called microglia, are activated to remove dirt and foreign invaders from the brain. However, too much activation can trigger inflammation, damage neurons and disrupt brain signaling. Animal experiments have shown that increased physical activity reduces abnormal microglia activation, but the association has not been established in humans. The researchers tracked the physical activity of 167 people, 60 percent of whom had Alzheimer’s disease, for nearly a decade. Participants wore activity monitors 24 hours a day for up to 10 consecutive days before annual cognitive exams. They then analyzed the participants’ brains after their death, which took place at an average age of 90 years. After adjusting for age, gender, education, and motor performance, the researchers observed that brain immune cells were less active in those who exercised more, especially in areas of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. “We have long known that mid-life physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of dementia,” said Professor Amy Brodtmann, a neurologist at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, who was not involved in the study. “But how physical activity late in life improves brain health is still not clear.” Brodtmann says previous studies have looked at the effect of exercise on beta-amyloid and tau, two proteins that accumulate in the brain and form plaques and disrupt brain function. Muscle mass has also been linked to better brain health, while reducing cardiovascular disease and the risk of stroke in the brain through exercise are helping to lower the risk of dementia. You might also like: The role of brain immune cells in cognitive decline is now getting tremendous attention. “We used to think that inflammation came after the pathologies of the brain,” Brodtmann said. “But what we’re thinking now is that other events in life, especially vascular disease, can cause increased inflammation in the brain, and this may be the primary cause of the pathology. [in the brain]”Brodtmann says this study revealed the positive effect of physical activity on neuroimmune modulation.” It means that at any point in your life, you can affect the health of your brain by exercising. “She says doctors should Encourage patients to exercise regularly as well as adopt a Mediterranean diet and address all other risk factors. “Age in itself is not an obstacle to exercise,” says Brodtmann, adding that including physical activity in your routine could be as simple as walking a brisk 30-minute walk most days of the week.Running, swimming, cycling and gentle strength training are also highly recommended.As people get older, reduced mobility can be a challenge, but Brodtmann said a certain level of physical activity is beneficial at all ages and stages of “These diseases are usually the cumulative effects of a lifetime of not exercising or eating well, and this behavior is not very easy to change.”


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