Conditions

An Active Brain Throughout Life May Help Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease

Crossword puzzle
A crossword puzzle. Kim Love/Flickr

People who keep their brains active in early and middle life have lower levels of the protein amyloid beta, which is associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

The more active people had lower uptake carbon 11-labeled Pittsburgh Compound B (CPiB), which measures Beta-amyloid deposition, according to a new study published in the Archives of Neurology.

Researchers’ objective was to assess the association between the lifestyle practices and B-amyloid deposition, measured with CPiB in healthy older individuals in a cross-sectional clinical study.

“We report a direct association between cognitive activity and CPiB uptake, suggesting that lifestyle factors found in individuals with high cognitive engagement may prevent or slow deposition of B-amyloid, perhaps influencing the onset and progression of AD,” researchers led by Susan M. Landau of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute wrote.

The study involved 65 health older individuals with a mean age of 76.1 years. Ten of them had Alzheimer’s disease. There were 11 young control patients with a mean age of 24.5 years. They were studied from October 31, 2005 to February 22, 2011.

The study tracked CPiB levels in various brain regions and also used reports by the study participants assessing participation in cognitive activities such as reading, writing, and playing games, as well as physical exercise.

“Although greater cognitive activity was associated with greater physical exercise, exercise was not associated with CPiB update,” researchers said.

“The tendency to participate in cognitively stimulating activities is likely related to engagement in a variety of lifestyle practices that have been implicated in other studies showing reduced risk of AD-related pathology,” researchers wrote.

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