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Exercise and activity can preserve brain cells and prevent Dementia

Exercise and activity can preserve brain cells and prevent Dementia

by Shruthi Venkatesh January 22 2019, 5:25 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 15 secs

Researchers have found that people who move around more and are active have shaper brains compared to the sloth-like ones even if they have brain-deterioration. ‘Dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. A person with dementia will have the following cognitive symptoms.

Day-to-day memory – for example, difficulty recalling events that happened recently,

Concentrating, planning or organising – for example, difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (such as cooking a meal),

Language – for example, difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something,

Visuospatial skills – for example, problems judging distances (such as on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions,

Orientation – for example, losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are.

Physical activity plays a vital role for a healthy Brain

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. The new findings as reported by the NBC News - indicate that exercise and other activity helps preserve memory and brain function despite the various damage that leads to dementia, including hardened arteries and the brain-clogging plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

“Higher activity is better for both people with and without dementia,” said Dr. Aron Buchman of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. A research done by Buchman and his colleagues studied 454 people and followed them until they died. Most of them were in their 80’s and 90’s when they passed away.  These volunteers took regular tests of their memory and thinking, wore wrist devices to measure their daily activity, and gave permission for their brains to be examined after their death. The researcher finally proved that those who exercised more, or even moved around in daily life more, had clearer thinking and better memory well into old age. Even though, there were previous studies on this genre, researchers were seeking for a clear examination whether lack of exercise was also associated with brain damage.  When the brains of the volunteers were studied after they died, the researchers found just about the amount of age-related damage in 236 who did not have dementia and the 191 who did. “On average, participants had three different brain pathologies,” the researchers wrote in their report, published in the journal Neurology.

Also those who exercised and went to gym had clearer thinking even in their last days. “We were measuring total daily activity, so we were measuring both exercise and routine daily activity,” Buchman told NBC News. “Older people who can’t get out of the house to go to the gym … can still accrue some of the cognitive reserve and benefit by increasing whatever activity they are already doing,” Buchman said. Surrendering to disability by just sitting motionless in a chair all day may hasten memory loss, he said. “Some people can’t exercise in the traditional sense of the word,” Buchman added. “The inference here is a more active lifestyle; whatever that is, may provide benefit.”

There weren’t any specific exercises instructed. It is just that those who moved around more had benefits than those who didn’t.



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