Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most heartbreaking conditions that families face, affecting men and women all across the world. The condition damages the brain, and slowly robs individuals of their mental clarity, causing unthinkable suffering for the patient and his or her loved ones.
While there is no documented cure for Alzheimer’s at this time, researchers are hard at work trying to better understand what causes the disease, and they have revealed that genetics can play a significant role in determining one’s risk. However, several promising new studies have found a link between preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s and physical activity.
Scientists at Missouri State University have been studying the effect that exertion has on certain brain proteins that are known to interrupt healthy brain functioning and can lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s. They found less of these proteins in the brains of mice who were required to engage in intense physical exercise.
While these findings may provide hope that lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on staving off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, more research is needed to more fully understand the amount of exercise that will have a positive effect, and at what points in life one can most reap the benefits.
A broader Alzheimer’s study is being undertaken at various sites throughout the country and is being funded by the National Institutes of Health. Aimed at finding ways to preserve and protect brain functioning in older adults, findings from the study are proving that staying active can benefit geriatric individuals in considerable ways. Most notably, activity can prevent memory loss, improve logic and reasoning, and can delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The results of these studies are giving hope to men and women whose families have had to deal with the effects of this damaging condition. One such person, Springfield, Missouri resident Daisy Duarte, is the primary caretaker for her mother who has endured the battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
In spite of all of the demands of caregiving, Duarte still finds time to play an active role in advocating for Alzheimer’s patients and their families, and is even participating in research that will hopefully contribute to a greater understanding of the disease. Through the study, she is learning about the importance of cardiovascular health, and about the many ways that brain health is tied to physical wellbeing.
It is hoped that in the future, more will be uncovered about ways of both preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. In the meantime, living an active and healthy lifestyle might just be the most accessible preventative measure one can take for slowing the onset of the disease.