BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A recent study from the Mayo Clinic points out that not even mental and physical exercises can help us against Alzheimer’s. According to this study, mental exercises have little effect on Alzheimer’s. The scientists observed the same number of amyloid plaque in both active and inactive patients.
From what we can gather from other studies, it would seem that the only sound strategy against Alzheimer’s is to keep your brain preoccupied and to do plenty of exercises. Witty riddles and complex puzzles may help our brain focused for a longer period of time, thus delaying the occurrence of mild cognitive impairment, the first symptom associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
But, a new study from the Mayo Clinic proves that there is no defense against Alzheimer’s and that physical and mental exercises are of little consequence. The study belongs to Prashanthi Vemuri and a team of medical researchers working at the Mayo clinic.
Vemuri’s study started from the assumption that APOE 4 gene carriers are the starting point of AD-related research. As we known, researchers have proved a long ago that those who carry the APOE 4 gene variant are 50 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
But the study could not be built on something that obvious. And so, the doctor and her team had to look at another lead. More specifically, the team wanted to see if physical and mental exercise could indeed help those predisposed to AD.
And so, the team asked for volunteers. Approximately 393 individuals participated in this new clinical study. Note that the average age of the volunteers was 70 years old and that 53 of them already exhibited sign of mental degradation. The team also took into account their ethnical background, sex and education.
All the participants were subjected to several tests in order to ascertain their mental and physical conditions. At the end of the test, all the participants had to fill in a couple of questionnaires which would help the team of getting their bearings right. We should also add that the members involved in this study were subjected to both MRI and PET brain scans, before and after the project was over.
What the team has discovered is indeed baffling. According to Vemuri, all of the test subjects displayed the same amount of amyloid plaques regardless of their level of education. So, a 70-year old patient who was physically and mentally active during midlife will have the same amount of amyloid plaques as an individual of the same age which did not engage in brain workouts.
The study concluded that mental exercises have little effect on Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, Vemuri and her team told the patient not to give up on the regular brain and physical workouts as there is still strong evidence that these activities can delay the effects of AD.