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Worried about Alzheimer’s? Rule # 1 Exercise

It is getting more and more difficult for me to get my mother to exercise. Recently one of her best friends, now 79, received a scare when her good friend told her she was starting to get forgetful. She asked me what I thought she should be doing to help protect herself against dementia and Alzheimer’s. My answer to this is question is always the same–Rule #1 Exercise.

Our friend decided on the spot to take my advice and join Gold’s gym. She did so immediately. We decided to attend the Silver Sneakers exercise class the next morning. I had trouble getting my mother to go to the gym class so I asked our friend to come over and help me convince her. It worked, thank goodness.

On the way to the gym the best way I can describe my mother is zombie like. She could barely walk, kept telling me she was going to faint, and said she was sick. I could barely get her out of the car. When we walked out of the gym my mother was standing straight, had a smile on her face, and was communicating. It is rather hard for me to describe this unless you see it for yourself. This happens every time. Exercise works for my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s and the benefits are obvious. Our friend upon seeing this in person for the first time decided she will attend the class at least three times per week.

The experience reminded me of an article I read a while back that discussed the positive effect that exercise had on nursing home residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

“Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.”



Reuters Health: Exercise slows decline in Alzheimer’s patients

Nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s disease who participate in a moderate exercise program have a significantly slower deterioration than those who receive routine medical care, researchers have shown.

Dr. Yves Rolland, of Hospital La Grave-Casselardit in Toulouse, France, and colleagues examined the effects of a program of exercise for one hour twice weekly on activities of daily living, physical performance, nutritional status, behavioral disturbance and depression among 134 Alzheimer’s disease patients in nursing homes.

The patients were 83 years old on average. They were assigned to the exercise program, which focused on walking, strength, balance and flexibility training, or to routine medical care for 12 months.

As reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 110 participants completed the study. Among the 56 subjects in the exercise group who completed the study, the rate of adherence to the program was about 33 percent on average.

At the end of the 12 months, the average activities-of-daily-living score was significantly more improved in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group, Rolland’s team reports.

In addition, average walking speed improved significantly more in the exercise group than in the routine medical care group at 6 months and 12 months.

However, the exercise program had no apparent effect on behavioral disturbance, depression or nutritional assessment scores.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, February 2007.

Read more about Alzheimer’s at the Alzheimer’s Reading Room

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Physical Activity for Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease

Does physical activity delay development of Alzheimer disease and late-life dementia? This new study just released shows that regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia and can help slow progression of Alzheimer’s. This is important news for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and it is important news for those predisposed to dementia by birth. Start exercising NOW.

Source: The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). In order to view the entire study you must be a subscriber or member.

Over the last three years, I wrote many times on this blog about the positive effect of exercise on my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. A study of one, I am convinced that exercise improves my mother’s attitude, day and outlook. Most of the time it is difficult to get my mother to go to the gym. She tells me over and over she’ll go but she won’t do anything once we get there. I never have any problem getting my mother to exercise once we get to the gym. Most of the time she can barely walk on the way in to Gold’s gym. On the way out, she is standing up straight and often smiling. The interaction in the gym with others is also beneficial. Others have told me my mother is a different person after exercising.

PS…I also exercise with my mother so we both benefit.

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Posted by on September 4, 2008 in alzheimer's, bob demarco, exercise, health, science

 

New Research Shows That People With Better Physical Fitness Have Less Brain Atrophy in Alzheimer’s

I have been writing about Alzheimer’s and exercise on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room blog for years. I believe that exercise is a key component in fighting off the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s on my mother–now 92 years old.

Exercising in a gym also gives my mother an added boost by keeping her socialized. Most days my mother goes kicking and screaming to the gym. On the way out she has a smile on her face, better balance while walking, and I feel like we are fighting the good fight.

I should mention that I am also getting some obvious benefits. If you are predisposed to Alzheimer’s by birth you really need to incorporate exercise into your daily return.

clipped from www.alz.org

People with early Alzheimer’s disease who had better fitness ratings had less atrophy in key brain areas associated with memory, according to research reported today at the 2008 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease (ICAD 2008) in Chicago.

This is the first time that MRI brain imaging has been used to demonstrate the connection between cardiorespiratory fitness and Alzheimer’s-related brain changes in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory and spatial navigation. In Alzheimer’s, the hippocampus is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage.

“We found that, in early-stage Alzheimer’s, cardiorespiratory fitness is correlated with regional brain volumes in key areas affected by the disease,” said Honea. “This suggests that maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness may positively modify Alzheimer’s-related brain atrophy.”

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Posted by on July 28, 2008 in alzheimer's, bob demarco, exercise

 

Exercise May Prevent Brain Shrinkage in Early Alzheimer’s Disease


Mild Alzheimer’s disease patients with higher physical fitness had larger brains compared with mild Alzheimer’s patients with lower physical fitness, according to a study published in the July 15 issue of Neurology.



Physical Fitness May Slow Alzheimer’s

Getting a lot of exercise may help slow brain shrinkage in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, a preliminary study suggests. Analysis found that participants who were more physically fit had less brain shrinkage than less-fit participants. However, they didn’t do significantly better on tests for mental performance.

That was a surprise, but maybe the study had too few patients to make an effect show up in the statistical analysis, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, one of the study’s authors.

He also stressed that the work is only a starting point for exploring whether exercise and physical fitness can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. The study can’t prove an effect because the participants were evaluated only once rather than repeatedly over time, he said.

While brains shrink with normal aging, the rate is doubled in people with Alzheimer’s, he said.

Burns, who directs the Alzheimer and Memory Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, reports the work with colleagues in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Neurology.

The study included 57 people with early Alzheimer’s. Their physical fitness was assessed by measuring their peak oxygen demand while on a treadmill, and brain shrinkage was estimated by MRI scans.

Dr. Sam Gandy, who chairs the medical and scientific advisory council of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the result fits in with previous indications that things people do to protect heart health can also pay off for the brain.

 

My mother–Exercise may slow Alzheimer’s brain atrophy

When my mother first showed signs of dementia she was falling down almost daily. Then she fell and broke her finger. My mother who a year earlier could walk 15 blocks without any real problem could no longer walk a block. I knew I had to do something. While I was trying to decide what to do her health care provider (Humana) began offering a free membership to a health club (Gold’s Gym). I enrolled her in Gold’s and the Silver Sneakers program. She stopped falling. Once I realized that it was her brain and not her ability to walk, I started putting her on the treadmill. Four years later my mother is walking very slow and holding my hand very tight when she walks. Her brain is sending her all kinds of false messages. Here is the good news, she has not fallen once in these four years. An amazing result for a 92 year old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

As some of you know, I am a big proponent of exercise and I believe this is a necessary component of staving off the dreaded effects of Alzheimer’s.


Exercise may slow Alzheimer’s brain atrophy

Getting a lot of exercise may help slow brain shrinkage in people with early Alzheimer’s disease, a preliminary study suggests.

Analysis found that participants who were more physically fit had less brain shrinkage than less-fit participants. However, they didn’t do significantly better on tests for mental performance.

That was a surprise, but maybe the study had too few patients to make an effect show up in the statistical analysis, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, one of the study’s authors.

He also stressed that the work is only a starting point for exploring whether exercise and physical fitness can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. The study can’t prove an effect because the participants were evaluated only once rather than repeatedly over time, he said.

While brains shrink with normal aging, the rate is doubled in people with Alzheimer’s, he said.

Burns, who directs the Alzheimer and Memory Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, reports the work with colleagues in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Neurology.

The study included 57 people with early Alzheimer’s. Their physical fitness was assessed by measuring their peak oxygen demand while on a treadmill, and brain shrinkage was estimated by MRI scans.

Dr. Sam Gandy, who chairs the medical and scientific advisory council of the Alzheimer’s Association, said the result fits in with previous indications that things people do to protect heart health can also pay off for the brain.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25676632/

 

Wii Fit

This is an excellent article about the new fitness module for Wii. I am considering getting this for my mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Along with this I hope to get friends to come over and bowl with her.

This would satisfy two important needs: exercise and social interaction. Follow the link to read the article.

I’ll let you know.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Exercising with Wii Fit is like having a Bob Harper or a Denise Austin who talks back — gently cajoling you through exercises, praising, nudging, even reminding you to eat a banana once in a while. It also lets you see how you stack up against friends or family members; each user creates a cartoony avatar called a “Mii.”

 

Vigorous Exercise Slows Aging

Well, we knew it. Now the studies confirm it. Vigorous walking for an hour a day five times a week can chop a dozen years off the biological age of people 64 and older, according to Roy Shephard, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, reported online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
A review of recent studies in patients age 64 and older showed that such a regimen can boost maximal oxygen intake by about 25% within three months, effectively decreasing biological age by about 12 years. That sounds good to me!

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Posted by on April 15, 2008 in aging, alzheimer's, bob demarco, exercise

 
 
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