In recent years, medical research has been consumed with the hypothesis of fighting off Alzheimer’s with regular aerobic exercise. But how true does this theory hold when put to test?
Researchers, in a recently conducted study, prescribed exercise much like doctors prescribed medicines to evaluate its benefits for preventing the onset of the Alzheimer’s disease.
The EXERT study, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, was a nationwide study that tested the effectiveness of exercise in treating patients suffering from mild memory issues. The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging.
The study assisted in investigating whether regular exercise can shield people from memory disturbances, cognitive challenges and other problems associated with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the past two decades, evidence accumulated from scientific studies and clinical trials reveals that exercise, when done regularly and with high intensity, can shield the health of the brain against deterioration as we continue to get older.
However, majority of the studies that were conducted on the benefits of exercise for the human brain were either done on a small sample, conducted over a few months, or depended entirely upon the estimates of the participants on how much exercise they do.
The study conducted by the researchers at the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is different in this regard as it seeks to address all the areas that were not addressed previously. With an impressive sample size of 300 people with a high-risk for developing Alzheimer’s, this study will randomly assign them into two groups and observe their health statistics for 18 months.
Half of the participants will perform aerobic exercises, for instance, running on a treadmill, while the remaining participants will be made to do flexibility and stretching exercises. The researchers are following the sample template followed by pharmaceutical companies to conduct clinical trials and tests for new medicines and drugs.
However, the only difference is that in this study, the participants will visit the local YMCA to be treated without any medicines. In order to qualify as a participant for this study, the participants must be between the ages of 65 and 89, and they should not be habitual of exercising regularly. Moreover, each participant should have a mild cognitive issue, a kind of memory loss that is often followed by the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Alongside their regular exercise sessions, the participants will also have to undertake memory tests and thinking tests. Tests will also be conducted to examine the blood circulation within their brain, their brain atrophy and the levels of toxic proteins linked with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
This data will assist the researchers in productive results that definitive and can be used to create a pragmatic treatment. It will allow the medical community to understand how exercise can assist in elevating the health of the brain, and understanding the scientific correlation between physical exertion and the human brain.
One thing is for sure, even if the hypothesis does not succeed in boosting memory and curbing cognitive impairment, the participants will still reap a plethora of health benefits from their regular exercise sessions.