Tuesday 7 August 2012

Beat Alzheimer disease by being active

Every 68 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer disease. It's a devastating diagnosis for patients, their families, and their caregivers. Nearly 5.5 million Americans already have it. By 2050 expect that number to approach 16 million unless something can be done to stave off the disease.

One American study showed why it's important to stay active and exercise. It included more than 700 dementia-free patients enrolled in the Memory and Aging Project at Rush University Medical Center. The volunteers self-reported physical and social activity. There was also a monitor and actograph on their wrists that tracked their activity for about 10 days. They were followed for 3.5 years; 71 of them developed Alzheimer disease.

The results suggested that activity and exercise matter. The slow movers, those in the bottom 10% of activity level, were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer disease as the top 10% of exercisers, the ones that moved the most. Cooking, cleaning, and gardening also counted and seemed to help. The average age of the patients in this study was 82 years, so you're never too old and it seems it's never too late to start. More physical activity can equal slower cognitive decline.