- Exercise leads to the
transmission of neuronal messages more efficiently in older adults who stay physically active.
- The research
trying to identify whether cardiovascular risk factors like hypertension and
high cholesterol could influence Alzheimer's risk.
could play a key role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
is one of the most
dreaded diseases and Carol White was not alone when she feared the worst on
hearing that one of her close relatives was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Ms. White was part of a
study conducted by UT Southwestern Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, adding
"I live with the possibility Alzheimer's
might also touch my life. You
just take a deep breath and wonder."
‘Good Mental Health is influenced by Good Physical health.’
The 69-year-old enrolled
herself for the study that focused on maintaining brain function through
aerobic exercise that controlled blood sugar and cholesterol. Dr. Rong Zhang is
an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern
Medical Center and was the principal investigator in the 5 year study. Dr Zhang
believed that factors that affected the heart were detrimental to brain
function too, as in the body, both the organs are equally important for
As a part of the study
600 older adults who were at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's will be
included in the study. Various intervention strategies will be adopted to find
out which strategy best helps retain brain function.
is one of the most severe symptoms of
Alzheimer's, where the patient will be unable to remember simple tasks or even
to follow a recipe. The American Heart Association has found that hypertension is a risk factor
which is an
indication that risk factors for cardiovascular health could also influence
Dr. Zhang said "That's
the point of this study. People are looking for a silver bullet to stop the
disease. But Alzheimer's is a multi-factorial disease. You have to do A, B, C,
and D together, which will hopefully make the difference."
The study by Dr. Zhang
is based on two previous studies that stress the importance of a healthy
lifestyle in delaying Alzheimer's.
Proteins in the Brain
- In 2013, Dr. Zhang and colleagues
carried out a study that focused on exercise and brain function. Neuronal
messages were transmitted more efficiently in the brains of older adults who
- A UCLA study showed that healthy diet
and exercise could prevent the buildup of protein in the brain that leads to
Studies are underway to
understand the effect of certain proteins that are considered toxic, like
B-amyloid as well as Tau, which are found to lead to the death of neurons.
In the current study,
Dr. Zhang and colleagues believe that exercise could be important intervention
strategy that could delay the onset of
. Another aspect of the study of interest is the
use of medications to lower cardiovascular risk which in turn will be studied
for possible influence on Alzheimer's
Ms. White who signed up
for the study said "I'm just interested in doing anything that I can that might
help in some small way to find a cure. It's not a pleasant thing to see your
relatives go through."
Associated with Alzheimer's
triggers feelings of anxiety that can leave an emotional scar. Relatives of
most patients are left distraught at having to watch their loved ones find it
difficult to remember even simple tasks.
In order to
help an individual with Alzheimer's and to lower their anxiety, here are a few
- Ensure a peaceful environment: A person
with Alzheimer's is at an increased risk of becoming agitated in a noisy
environment where there are many people. To lower anxiety levels it would be
better to move them to calm places and to lower the intake of
- Ask about
Personal Discomfort, if any: In most instances, people with Alzheimer's
will be unable to remember that they need to use the restroom or where the
restroom is. This can lead to confusion and feeling of anxiousness. Asking them
whether they need to go to the restroom and gently leading them will help
- Exercise: Create interesting ways to make exercising fun. Take them
to a group activity or garden together.
is a severe form of dementia and is not a normal part of aging. It leads to a
slow degeneration of thinking and behavior that can affect the quality of the
life of an individual. Most people with Alzheimer's are over the age of 65
years. However, there have been instances of early-onset Alzheimer's.
the body as
well as the brain is known to delay the onset of this neurodegenerative disease
- What Is Alzheimer's? - (http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp)
- Anxiety and Agitation - (https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-agitation-anxiety.asp)