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article imageStudy: Exercise reduces Alzheimer's Disease symptoms

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 23, 2015 in Science
There has been a lot of hopeful news at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington, and on Thursday came news of the benefits of exercise for patients. A study found exercise makes patients feel better and improves memory.
The conference ran from July 18-23 and among the final presentations was the study on the results of Alzheimer's patients taking up a regular exercise regime.
Cognitive neuroscientist Laura Baker of the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina conducted a study using 70 persons with Alzheimer's Disease, and presented her results on the conference's final day. There were also similar studies in Denmark and Canada. In the studies, some patients exercised for 45 minutes, three to four times weekly, while other Alzheimer's patients did not work out at all.
The results found that those who exercised felt better and spinal fluid tests showed they had reduced the amount of a protein called tau, a contributing factor in Alzheimer's. Baker reported to the conference that the patients who had exercised also had better blood flow to the brain and showed a marked improvement in "executive functions;" skills such as attention span, planning and organizational abilities.
"These findings are important because they strongly suggest that a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer's-related changes in the brain," Baker wrote in a statement. "No currently approved medication can rival these effects."
Most doctors — all doctors? — lecture patients on the positive effects of exercise and they can now add these study results to the list of benefits their patients can be told they might accrue. This study was one of many presented at the annual conference.
Other good news surrounding Alzheimer's at the conference included a study presented Wednesday by the giant pharmaceutical company Eli Lily. The company presented the results of recent trials they conducted on a drug called Solanezumab.
The drug attaches itself to toxic amyloid beta plaques that are in the brain to attack neurons and prevent them from firing, causing Alzheimer's. The results of their trials show that Solanezumab prevents this attachment, thus stopping the progress of the disease. However, it appears only to work for those in the early stages of Alzheimer's.
More about Alzheimer's disease, dementia study, Memory loss, exercise and alzheimer's
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