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Exercise Prevents Brain Shrinkage Associated With Alzheimer’s

April 23, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Moderate physical activity seems to protect people genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease from shrinkage of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory and spatial orientation, a U.S. study has found. The researchers tracked four groups of healthy older adults ages 65-89 who had normal cognitive abilities but were genetically at risk for Alzheimer’s. Using magnetic resonance imaging, they measured the volume of the hippocampus at the start and at the end of the 18-month study.  Of all four groups studied, only those at high genetic risk for Alzheimer's who did not exercise experienced a decrease in hippocampal volume (three percent).
J. Carson Smith et al., "Physical activity reduces hippocampal atrophy in elders at genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease. ", Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, April 23, 2014, © Smith et al.
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