Could Exercise Slow Dow the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Aug 31, 2019 | Aging, Alzheimer's Disease, CNS, Dementia

Beautiful Woman Athlete Runs on a Treadmill with Electrodes Attached to Her Body, Female Physician Uses Tablet Computer and Controls EKG Data Showing on Laboratory Monitors.

University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health professor Ozioma Okonkwo and associates have been conducting studies on the development of Alzheimer’s disease for nearly a decade. Their most recent study evidences the power of exercise to help slow the development of the disease.

The Study

The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine (UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health) and his colleagues studied a group of 23 middle-aged adults with a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s reported Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR). The participants were enrolled into two groups including 1) an exercise group and 2) a control group.

During the study, the UW-Madison researchers uncovered that aerobic fitness supports increased blood flow into the parts of the brain that help improve an individual’s cognitive function. Moreover, they posited that the exercise group was actually changing biological processes via the actual morphing of glucose intake in the brain. Study lead Professor Okonkwo noted that the exercise group exhibited a greater capacity to take and use glucose. He believes that the improvement in aerobic fitness drove the brain glucose levels and intervened with Alzheimer’s-related brain changes of the disease.

The UW-Madison team has presented the study to the American Psychological Association and professor Okonkwo is seeking to conduct a larger study through the National Institutes of Health.

Lead Research/Investigator

Professor Ozioma Okonkwo

Call to Action: This study doesn’t conclusively prove that exercise can slow down Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is proven that sufficient to great amounts of exercise is good for everyone, especially those in the middle to late ages. A rigorous exercise program benefits all and is highly recommended unless there are certain health issues to consider. The UW-Madison research should be of interest to health organizations (providers, payers and drug makers) and undoubtedly professor Okonkwo’s results would be of interest for further discussion


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