Summary: According to researchers, regular exercise at any age can help to reduce aterial stiffness and could help to provide some protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: University of Kentucky.
Recent research suggests that exercise might provide some measure of protection from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
A group of researchers led by Nathan Johnson PT, DPT, PhD of the University of Kentucky College of Health Sciences, was able to demonstrate a positive correlation between fitness and blood flow to areas of the brain where the hallmark tangles and plaques of AD pathology are usually first detected.
Thirty men and women ages 59-69 were put through treadmill fitness assessments and ultrasounds of the heart. Then they received brain scans to look for blood flow to certain areas of the brain.
“We set out to characterize the relationship between heart function, fitness, and cerebral blood flow, which no other study had explored to date,” Johnson said. “In other words, if you’re in good physical shape, does that improve blood flow to critical areas of the brain? And does that improved blood flow provide some form of protection from dementia?”
The results showed blood flow to critical areas of the brain – and so the supply of oxygen and vital nutrients – was higher in those who were more physically fit.
“Can we prove irrefutably that increased fitness will prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Not at this point,” Johnson said. “But this is an important first step towards demonstrating that being physically active improves blood flow to the brain and confers some protection from dementia, and conversely that people who live sedentary lifestyles, especially those who are genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s, might be more susceptible.”
Since people who exercise frequently often have reduced arterial stiffness, Johnson and his group postulate that regular physical activity – regardless of age – maintains the integrity of the “pipes” that carry blood to the brain.
“In the mid-late 20th century, much of the research into dementias like Alzheimer’s focused on vascular contributions to disease, but the discovery of amyloid plaques and tangles took prevailing research in a different direction” Johnson said. “Research like this heralds a return to the exploration of the ways the vascular system contributes to the disease process.”
About this Alzheimer’s disease research article
Funding: Johnson’s research, which was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health CTSA (UL1TR000117) and the University of Kentucky’s Clinical Services Core.
Source: Laura Dawahare – University of Kentucky Image Source: This NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain. Original Research:Abstract for “Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies the relationship between myocardial function and cerebral blood flow in older adults” by Nathan F. Johnson, Brian T. Gold, Alison L. Bailey, Jody L. Clasey, Jonathan G. Hakun, Matthew White, Doug E. Long, and David K. Powell in NeuroImage. Published online May 1 2016 doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.063
Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]University of Kentucky. “Regular Exercise at Any Age Could Stave Off Alzheimer’s.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 16 May 2016. <https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-exercise-arterial-stiffness-4231/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]University of Kentucky. (2016, May 16). Regular Exercise at Any Age Could Stave Off Alzheimer’s. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved May 16, 2016 from https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-exercise-arterial-stiffness-4231/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]University of Kentucky. “Regular Exercise at Any Age Could Stave Off Alzheimer’s.” NeuroscienceNews. https://neurosciencenews.com/alzheimers-exercise-arterial-stiffness-4231/ (accessed May 16, 2016).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies the relationship between myocardial function and cerebral blood flow in older adults
A growing body of evidence indicates that cardiorespiratory fitness attenuates some age-related cerebral declines. However, little is known about the role that myocardial function plays in this relationship. Brain regions with high resting metabolic rates, such as the default mode network (DMN), may be especially vulnerable to age-related declines in myocardial functions affecting cerebral blood flow (CBF). This study explored the relationship between a measure of myocardial mechanics, global longitudinal strain (GLS), and CBF to the DMN. In addition, we explored how cardiorespiratory affects this relationship. Participants were 30 older adults between the ages of 59 and 69 (mean age = 63.73 years, SD = 2.8). Results indicated that superior cardiorespiratory fitness and myocardial mechanics were positively associated with DMN CBF. Moreover, results of a mediation analysis revealed that the relationship between GLS and DMN CBF was accounted for by individual differences in fitness. Findings suggest that benefits of healthy heart function to brain function are modified by fitness.
“Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies the relationship between myocardial function and cerebral blood flow in older adults” by Nathan F. Johnson, Brian T. Gold, Alison L. Bailey, Jody L. Clasey, Jonathan G. Hakun, Matthew White, Doug E. Long, and David K. Powell in NeuroImage. Published online May 1 2016 doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.05.063