Improving Brain Volume through Physical Exercises Helps Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by Half

Engaging in physical activity helps improve brain volume which in turn lowers the risk of contracting Alzheimer's disease by up to 50%, new study shows.

Alzheimer's is categorized as the only ailment in the list of the top 10 death-causing diseases in America than cannot be slowed down, cured, or prevented. Anyone who has brain is always at risk of getting this disease and what’s more worrying is the fact that cases of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's have been on the rise.

According to Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA), someone in the US develops the disease every 67 seconds and it is estimated that by the end of 2015, at least 5.3 million people in America had disease. 5.1 million Out of the 5.3 million victims were aged 65 and above and that 700,000 died of the disease.

alzehimerResearchers from the University of Pittsburg in collaboration with UCLA Medical Center recently released a report that showed physical activities could help reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease by half. The activities include dancing, gardening, walking, and other type of aerobic activities which improve the structure of the brain.

According to Cyrus A. Raji, MD, PhD, lead author and researcher at UCLA, there was a correlation between physical activity and brain volume. Increased physical activity influenced the volume of the brain and affects regions such as temporal, frontal, parietal lobes as well as hippocampus. 

Confirming earlier studies, the report which was funded by National Institute of Aging Association and published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, individuals who regularly took part in physical activities were less-likely to get the brain disease.

The research involved 876 patients suffering from the disease and lasted for 30 years and covered four research regions in the United States. The participants were required to fill questionnaires on their physical activities and the researchers also followed up on their memory.

The average age of the participants was 78 years and they were required to go for MRI scans to analyze the brain’s functions. This was done using advanced computer algorithms that checked the volume of the brain and memory. In addition to correlating the volume of the brain and physical activities such as dancing, cycling, and gardening, the calories used on a weekly basis were also measured.

According to George Perry, PhD, and Chief Editor of Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, lifestyle changes and intervention is key to bringing down the impact of Alzheimer’s disease. The research findings mark a milestone in the war against the brain disease which if not contained will affect about 13.8 million Americans in the next 30 years.