Exercise can prevent dementia-related brain damage

Bryan Aldrige

August 16, 2011

A new study conducted by researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences uncovered evidence that exercise can prevent brain damage that is commonly associated with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. The scientists observed that mice that were exercised prior to exposure to a chemical that destroys the hippocampus – which is in charge of memory and learning in the brain – produced a chemical that not only hindered the brain's inflammatory response to the chemical, but also prevented the expected loss of brain function.

"Exercise allows the brain to rapidly produce chemicals that prevent damaging inflammation," said Professor Jean Harry, the lead researcher. "This could help us develop a therapeutic approach for early intervention in preventing damage to the brain."

Exercise is not only beneficial for dementia patients, but for all older adults. As people age, the loss of muscle mass, strength, flexibility and bone mass is relatively unavoidable, according to The New York Times. These natural declines in physical strength can increase the risk of falling, but regular exercise can go a long way to counteract the effects of aging. A senior alert system is still a wise investment, even if an older adult has an established workout regimen, to protect them if they fall or are otherwise injured.

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