Moderate but Not Low-intensity Exercise Might Help Protect Brain from Alzheimer’s

Moderate but Not Low-intensity Exercise Might Help Protect Brain from Alzheimer’s
People at risk for Alzheimer’s disease who spend more time doing moderate-intensity exercise have a healthier level of glucose metabolism in the brain — considered a reflection of how healthy and active the brain really is. In contrast, low-intensity physical activity, such as a slow walk, was not related to brain metabolism, according to the research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The study, “Moderate Physical Activity is Associated with Cerebral Glucose Metabolism in Adults at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease,” turned to the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention (WRAP) to obtain data about exercise levels and brain health. "This study has implications for guiding exercise 'prescriptions' that could help protect the brain from Alzheimer's disease," Ryan Dougherty, first study author and a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a press release. "While many people become discouraged about Alzheimer's disease because they feel there's little they can do to protect against it, these results suggest that engaging in moderate physical activity may slow down the progression of the disease," he added. WRAP recruits cognitively healthy people in their older middle ages who have one or both parents affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The registry also recruits people with no family history of the disease to use as controls. Equipping 93 of these patients with accelerometers — a device that measures exercise by analyzing acceleration — the research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health got an idea of how much the participants exercised. They then measured their brain glucose metabolism using a brain imaging technique called positron emission tomography (
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.