by Medindia Content Team on  May 23, 2006 at 3:32 PM Mental Health News
Fitness Prevents Alzheimer's
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Washington University and the Group Health Centre in Seattle, in the United States it was found that regular exercise keeps Alzheimer's at bay. It was initially thought that mental problems were the signs of the disease but now it is been disproved by the researchers. The researchers analyzed about 2300 elderly patients and found that balance problems and a weak handshake are early signs of dementia. They analysed them for six years they found that those who were physically fit were less likely to develop the condition.

The initial symptoms were difficulty in walking and balancing. Dr Eric Larson said that physical changes precede other symptoms such as decline in cognitive thinking. The disease though thought to be a brain disease is closely associated to physical fitness. The study results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal. The study participants were aged 65 and older who did not suffer from any signs of dementia. About 319 people after six years developed dementia, including 221 with Alzheimer's disease. Previous studies show that people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop the disease.

One reason being that better cardiovascular fitness is helpful to the brain. Dr Larson said that there is a close association with the brain and the body. Both physical and mental performance is dependant on each other. By keeping oneself busy and involving them in various activities, having a broad network of friends and family, maintaining a positive attitude during their old age would delay the onset of dementia. But further studies are essential to prove the link between physical fitness and dementia.

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