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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Fitness lovers, take note: Running from adolescence can reduce risk of dementia

People who take up running in their teens are less likely to be affected by dementia later in life, says a new study.

fitness Updated: Aug 16, 2017 13:15 IST

Asian News International, Washington DC
Exercise early in life may help to protect against age-related cognitive decline.
Exercise early in life may help to protect against age-related cognitive decline. (Shutterstock)
         

You may want to get a move on as according to a recent study, people who take up running in their teens are less likely to develop dementia later in life. Young rats with access to a running wheel show improved memory later in life and increased activity of neurons generated in adulthood, found a study. The results raise the possibility that exercise early in life may help to protect against age-related cognitive decline. Previous research suggested that measures like quitting smoking, reducing obesity and learning new things could cut dementia risk.

Martin Wojtowicz and colleagues found that six weeks of voluntary running, beginning at one month of age in rats, was sufficient to induce a long-term effect on learning and memory of a fear response that depends on newly generated neurons in the hippocampus in adulthood. They also found that the activity of the adult-born neurons was enhanced compared to those acquired during development and to those of rats housed in a standard cage without a running wheel.

The findings are consistent with the idea of cognitive reserve, whereby the brain draws on enriching experiences from youth to compensate for functional declines as a result of age or disease. Early life interventions that increase physical activity may therefore help to build up this reserve, potentially delaying the onset of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The study is published in the journal eNeuro.

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First Published: Aug 16, 2017 13:14 IST

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