A recently completed study has shown that people who are at a genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease can help reduce that risk through exercise.
The study, first published in January 2012 in the Archives of Neurology and reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, was done at the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University in St Louis.
The study of 201 individuals used brain scans, genetic test results and a 10-year history of physical activity as part of its research.
The study showed that moderate physical activity, such as 30-minutes of exercise five times a week, showed only modest benefit to the group overall regarding mental ability. But when looking at those participants carrying a gene that indicates a higher risk of Alzheimer’s, the benefits of exercise on brain function, and the risks of remaining sedentary, proved much greater.
So while exercise is beneficial in many ways, it may be especially important for those at risk of Alzheimer’s to remain active.
Carolyn Wallace, a Body Recall instructor since 1985, has seen the benefits of the program in many Alzheimer’s patients, including her mother.
She has had several students who developed Alzheimers remain in class “as part of this tightly knit community and continued to participate in the classes, without issues. They retained their physical abilities, and were able to stay in their home longer.”
Her mother, Daphne Morrison, whose career was in social work, “was able to cover up her Alzheimers for a good long time. And even in later stages (of Alzheimer’s) is able to obtain the benefits of physical and social activity.”
Unfortunately, the study showed most of the participants in the study to be mostly sedentary. The mission of Body Recall is to help get people moving for a better quality of life.
The full New York Times story may be read here.
Daphne Morrison, center, continued in Body Recall classes after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.