Study Tests Whether Exercise, Lowering Cholesterol Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s

Previous evidence has shown that what is bad for your heart is also bad for your brain.   A study done by UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute set out to determine whether regular exercise and taking medication to reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure can help preserve brain function.   This was a 5 year study by six medical centers around the United States.   It tracked 600 older adults with high risk for Alzheimer’s.  There was evidence to support that hypertension is linked to the development of late in life dementia.   But more data and additional studies are needed.

Key Points:

  • 1Scientists are trying to determine whether regular aerobic exercise and taking specific medications to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can help preserve brain function.
  • 2Previous studies have already shown that hypertension is linked to development of dementia and that a healthy diet and regular exercise can reduce the toxic protein buildup associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • 3Other teams are designing tests for the early detection of patients who will develop dementia, and seeking methods to slow or stop the spread of toxic proteins associated with the disease.

In the current study, supported by funding from the National Institutes on Aging, researchers will measure the effectiveness of various combinations of intervention in four groups of participants, including those who receive both aerobic training and medication that aggressively targets cardiovascular risks, and others that only receive some or none of these interventions.

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