Exercise To Avoid Dementia
A new study from Canada reinforces earlier research suggesting that getting regular exercise can help lower the risk of dementia. It also showed that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk as much as having the genetic mutation apolipoprotein E (APOE), a gene variant that increases the odds of dementia by three or four times normal. Researchers from McMaster University followed 1,646 seniors age 65 and older for five years to assess the effect of physical activity on the risk of dementia. They tested all the participants for the APOE gene variant. By the time the study ended 331 participants had been diagnosed with some form of dementia. The risks proved to be twice as high among those with the APOE mutation as well as among the sedentary participants who did not have the genetic mutation. The seniors in the study who performed the most physical activity reported walking three times a week. “The important message here is that being inactive may completely negate the protective effects of a healthy set of genes,” study co-author Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in McMaster’s department of kinesiology, said in a press release. Because the study was observational, it did not prove that sedentary living was responsible for the higher risk of dementia seen in the inactive participants, although it does reveal an association.
Jennifer J. Heisz et al, “Physical Exercise Moderates the Relationship of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) Genotype and Dementia Risk: A Population Based Study.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, January 2017 doi:10.3233/JAD-160424
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