Physical Activity Not A Protective Factor For Alzheimer’s Disease


    Physical Activities And Alzheimer’s Disease

    A study led by academics from the University of Bristol and Cardiff University showed that physical activity in middle age does not influence the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly patients. The study was done on 1005 people to see if physical activity is a protective factor for dementia. Alzheimer disease is the most common cause of dementia in older patients.

    Characteristics for this disease are the senile plaques,  neurofibrillary degeneration, and beta-amyloid deposits in the cortical substance. It is a neurodegenerative disease that appears and worsen progressively .  The main symptom IS forgetfulness, but it can appear confusion, irritability, trouble talking, eventually occurs loss of bodily functions (eg, incontinence) and death. Of course, symptoms vary depending on disease stage. There are two types of Alzheimer’s,  early onset and late-onset form. Early-onset form is rare, has a worse prognosis because it progresses faster and is transmitted in families. The late onset usually occurs after 60 years and is the most frequent. This form can also be transmitted in families.

    Alzheimer's disease

    Alzheimer’s Disease

    Regarding the causes of Alzheimer’s, discussions are controversial. There are several hypotheses that emerged over time. Cholinergic hypothesis is one of them. According to it, AD is due to reduced synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. But drugs designed to compensate the deficit of acetylcholine were not very effective. Another hypothesis is the hypothesis of tau proteins . Tau proteins affect neuronal communication that triggers the disease.The hypothesis of deposits of beta-amyloid  is one of the most plausible. Amyloid is composed of fibrillar proteins and lead to degenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes type 2, etc.. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that Alzheimer’s is more common in people with Down syndrome, because the gene for beta-amyloid precursor protein is found on chromosome 21. Another theory emphasises the idea that Alzheimer’s may actually be caused by a protein closely related to beta-amyloid.

    Researchers at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University have tried to find out if there is any link between physical activity and cognitive function in patients enrolled in the study. It should be noted that patients were followed for a period of 16 years. After analyzing the data, they found that there is no causal relationship between physical activity and cognitive deficits. Results of previous studies were controversial. Dr. Gemma Morgan, lead researcher from Bristol’s School of Social and Community Medicine, said that previous studies  found a link between physical activity and Alzheimer’s because these studies had a short period of follow-up. She noted that although the study led by researchers at  University of Bristol and Cardiff University showed that physical activity does not provide a protective role against Alzheimer’s, however, exercise is beneficial to health.