Progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, because of generalized degeneration of the brain, is defined as Alzheimer's disease, as previously mentioned. Exercise and diet are very important factors in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease, as determined in previous studies. Here Sarah Knapton, Science Editor, Telegraph.Co, UK, reflects on a new series of studies for protection against Alzheimer's:
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“Exercise could protect against Alzheimer's by triggering a hormone which helps regrow brain cells, a study has found.
Scientists have known for some time that exercise reduces the risk of developing dementia, but did not know if there was a direct link or whether ill people were simply unable to work out.
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Now a new series of studies had shown that a hormone released during exercise, called irisin, is depleted in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, and can protect animals against memory loss and brain damage.
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Mice who swam nearly every day for five weeks did not develop memory impairment despite getting infusions of beta amyloid – the brain-cell clogging protein implicated in Alzheimer's.
It suggests not only that exercise really does protect against dementia, but also that a drug which mimics irisin could be the answer to preventing the disease.
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“I would certainly encourage everyone to exercise, to promote brain function and overall health,” said Dr Ottavio Arancio, professor of pathology and cell biology and of medicine at Columbia University.
“But that's not possible for many people, especially those with age-related conditions like heart disease, arthritis, or dementia.
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“For those individuals, there's a particular need for drugs that can mimic the effects of irisin and protect synapses and prevent cognitive decline.”
There are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain and that figure is expected to rise as the population ages.”
Specific steps should be followed to increase life expectancy, and exercise is considered one way to extend life. The Body Reboot book reveals how a low carb, high fat diet can improve health.
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