Several new studies show that physical exercise can help Alzheimer’s patients live better with their disease.
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The studies, which were carried out separately but all presented at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C., had very similar results.
The first study was carried out by Dr. Steen Hasselbach and a team of researchers from the Danish Dementia Research Centre at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. The study revealed that, of the 200 Alzheimer’s patients examined, those participating in a physical activity program “had far fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, and depression)” than those not participating in such a program.
The second study was conducted by researchers based at the Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina. Researchers divided 65 older adults into two groups, with only one group focusing on an aerobics training program. After six months, the researchers found that the aerobics group had lower levels of tau protein, which has been linked to the acceleration of Alzheimer’s.
The last study, which was led by Teresa Liu-Ambrose of the University of British Columbia, focused on dementia patients. Again, half of the participants were asked to engage in an aerobics program. Follow-up tests revealed that the patients on the physical activity program showed better cognitive functionality than those who were not as physically active.
Given the findings of the three studies, researchers now believe it’s clear that physical activity should be a key part of any treatment plan for dementia patients.