Exercise Can Improve Memory and Brain Health


Alzheimers and its research means much to me.  Both my mother and my sister have died from Alzheimers related causes.  Now there is nothing to indicate that Alzheimers is hereditary.  However, you can certainly feel my apprehension as two members of my family had the disease.


Thus I read and research anything I can get hold of to find out more information.  Also I find it particularly interesting that pet therapy accounts for 59% popularity as a means of providing comfort to individuals near the end of life.  Since I’ve just rescued two white boxers, sisters actually, I have new happiness in my life.  After the trauma of my husband’s suicide, it took nine months to reach this high point.  Who knows what else is waiting around the corner. 


Here is some most inspiring information for you to digest. 





Alternative Therapies For End-of-Life Care:   


Almost 42% of hospice care providers in the United States offer complementary and alternative therapies   (CAT) as a means of providing comfort and alleviating pain to individuals near the end of life, according to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.


Analyzing data from the 2007 National Home and Hospice Care Survey, researchers found that the most popular CATs are massage (72%), supportive group services (69%), music therapy (62%), pet therapy (59%), and guided imagery or relaxation (53%).




News to Use Regarding Alzheimers:

  A section of the brain involved in memory grew in size in older people who regularly took brisk walks for a year, researchers reported Monday.

The new study reinforces previous findings that aerobic exercise seems to reduce brain atrophy in early-stage Alzheimer’s patients, and that walking leads to slight improvement on mental tests among older people with memory problems.

The new analysis, led by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, appears in Tuesday’s edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study involved 120 sedentary people, ages 55 to 80. They were divided into two groups: Half began a program of walking for 40 minutes a day, three days a week to increase their heart rate; the others only did stretching and toning exercises.

The hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory, tends to shrink slightly with age and that’s what happened in the group that only did stretching. But among people who took part in the walking program, the hippocampus region of the brain grew in size by roughly 2%.

Researchers found that “in the aerobic exercise group, increased hippocampal volume was directly related to improvements in memory performance.”

“We think of atrophy of the hippocampus in later life as almost inevitable,” Kirk Erickson, professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, lead author, said in a statement.

Added Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois and senior author: “Results of our study are particularly interesting as they suggest even modest amounts of exercise by sedentary older adults can lead to substantial improvements in memory and brain health.”


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