Advancements in Alzheimer’s Research

Advancements in Alzheimer’s Research

Alzheimer’s Disease affects approximately 747,000 Canadians and is something we have touched on in our past post: Tips to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Dimentia. It is a disease the for a long time seemingly had no preventative measures and no cure in sight. However in the past few years the scientific community has made outstanding progress in understanding this disease and working towards ways of preventing and slow the progression in those affected.

Alzheimer's Research Advancements

Right now, several hospitals in the Toronto area are looking at an ambitions 5-year, $10-million dollar study to determine if cognitive exercises combine with electric stimulation of the brain can delay the onset of dementia from Alzheimers. 

Another promising study might have a way to detect Alzheimer’s earlier than the current method, with a blood test. This test would look for amyloid-β precursor proteins in the blood, as these build up with plaque in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients.

And a third study, published this January in the Journal of the American Geriatrics SocietyThe researchers analyzed the findings of 19 studies that measured cognitive function pre- and post-exercise intervention. All studies reviewed had a non-exercise control group. Almost all participants in the studies had mild cognitive impairment (64 percent) or Alzheimer’s disease (35 percent). The researchers found that:

  • Comparing differences in cognitive function between control and exercise groups, the authors found a small positive effect for the experimental group.
  • The authors write, “Our overall finding was that moderate-intensity exercise training performed approximately 3 days per week for approximately 45 minutes per session resulted in modestly better cognitive function than in controls.”
  • Looking more specifically at cognitive function before and after different forms of exercise intervention, the researchers found that those who participated in aerobic exercise in particular had “clinically meaningful improvements in cognitive function.”
  • Combined exercise (aerobic and resistance training) did not have a significant effect on cognitive abilities.

While there is still a long way to go with research and trials, there is ground being made on early diagnosis and prevention each day.

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