Active Lifestyle Can Help Preserve Gray Matter & Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Active Lifestyle Can Help Preserve Gray Matter & Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

Alzheimer's Care West Palm BeachAn overwhelming amount of evidence has been released in scientifically validated, peer reviewed research studies to confirm that many chronic illnesses are not the result of natural aging, but rather years and decades of sub-optimal nutrient intake, consumption of processed and synthetic foods and exposure to environmental and household pollutants. Further evidence is now released to confirm that lifestyle activities significantly contribute to the development and progression of the devastating illness, Alzheimer’s disease.

A research team based at the University of California, Los Angeles has reported the result of their findings on lifestyle activities and Alzheimer’s disease incidence. The scientists found that an active lifestyle helps preserve gray matter in the brains of older adults and could reduce the burden of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

This insidious disease that presently has no cure, affects more than 35 million people worldwide, a number that is expected to double by the year 2030. To conduct the study, researchers assembled a group of 876 adults with an average age of 78 years to assess how an active lifestyle can influence brain structure and mental decline. The participants’ mental state ranged from those with no outward signs of cognitive decline, to include those with various states of memory loss, up to and including Alzheimer’s disease.

Regular physical activity increases brain volume to prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease

Lead study author, Dr. Cyrus Raji noted “We had 20 years of clinical data on this group, including body mass index and lifestyle habits… we drew our patients from four sites across the country, and we were able to assess energy output in the form of kilocalories per week.” The lifestyle factors examined included recreational sports, gardening and yard work, bicycling, dancing and riding an exercise bicycle.

Researchers used MRI technology to determine the relationship between energy output and grey matter volume in the brain. Dr. Raji said “Gray matter volume is a key marker of brain health. Larger gray matter volume means a healthier brain. Shrinking volume is seen in Alzheimer’s disease.” The researchers found a strong association between energy utilization and gray matter volume in areas of the brain crucial for cognitive function. Higher caloric expenditure related to larger gray matter volumes in the memory and learning centers of the brain.

The scientists found a strong association between high energy output and greater gray matter volume in patients with mild cognitive impairment and AD. Dr. Raji concluded “What struck me most about the study results is that it is not one but a combination of lifestyle choices and activities that benefit the brain.” Physical activity is a critical lifestyle component to maintain overall body muscle tone and brain volume, and should be combined with a natural food diet and avoidance of environmental pollutants to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia.