Regular Exercise May Prevent Alzheimer Disease

Exercise twice weekly in midlife may lower dementia risk

TUESDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Regular physical activity in midlife may help prevent or postpone the onset of Alzheimer disease and dementia, according to epidemiological research published online in The Lancet Neurology.

Miia Kivipelto, Ph.D., of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues studied 1,449 people aged 65 to 79 who had been surveyed once about their leisure-time physical activity in 1972, 1977, 1982 or 1987. The subjects were re-interviewed in 1998 and at that time, 76 of them had Alzheimer disease and 117 had dementia.

People who exercised at least twice weekly in midlife had a 62% lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease and a 52% lower risk of developing dementia than did those who were sedentary, which was defined as exercising less than twice a week. The researchers also found that the association was more pronounced in genetically susceptible carriers of the APOE e4 gene variant.

"These findings may have wide implications for preventive health care; if an individual adopts an active lifestyle in youth and at midlife, this may increase their probability of enjoying both physically and cognitively vital years later in life," the authors conclude.

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