Study: Physical Activity and Higher Motor Skills Create a ‘Cognitive Reserve’ Even When Brain Pathologies Are Present

New research combining postmortem examination of brain tissue with testing during life has revealed what researchers believe to be an as-yet unexplained connection: higher levels of physical activity (PA) and motor skills seem to create a “cognitive reserve” that buoys cognitive performance during life, even in the presence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Lewy body disease, and other brain pathologies associated with dementia.

For the study, published ahead of print in Neurology, researchers examined brain tissue from 454 participants involved in the Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP). The subjects participated in a battery of annual clinical assessments and agreed to brain donation at the time of death. The clinical tests included 21 cognitive assessments, an analysis of 10 motor abilities, and an estimation of total daily PA drawn from accelerometers worn constantly for 10 days (researchers in this study used only the first 7 days’ data).

Full story at APTA

Exercise can help fight off Alzheimer’s, but how?

Exercise is a vital element of a healthful lifestyle; it helps maintain heart health, improve mood, and fight weight gain. New research also suggests that it can protect a person’s cognitive skills, and a new study uncovers fresh information as to how this can happen.

According to a study covered on Medical News Today last year, engaging in regular, leisurely exercise can help keep the body young and healthy.

The same appears to be true for the relationship between exercise and the mind; only 10 minutes of physical activity may boost cognitive function in the short-term.

Meanwhile, exercising regularly for 6 months could actually reverse the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.

Full story at Medical News Today

Future doctors learn how to prescribe physical activity for their patients

An initiative adopted by Lancaster University to embed physical activity into the training for medical students has been showcased at a national and international level.

Lancaster Medical School was the first school in the UK to fully embed the Movement For Movement physical activity resources into the undergraduate programme and all medical schools and schools of health now have access to the resources, reaching a potential 120,000 students across the UK.

This Movement For Movement initiative, led by Ann Gates has been shared with all medical schools and visits to a sample of schools was funded by Public Health England and Sport England.

Full story at Lancaster University

New Physical Activity Guidelines Stress the Importance of Movement of any Duration

You want blunt? The US Department of Health and Human Services can do blunt—at least when it comes to physical activity (PA) recommendations for Americans.

“Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day,” HHS says in its latest edition of nationwide guidelines for PA. “Some physical activity is better than none.”

That’s the bottom-line recommendation that HHS rolled out this week in its revised Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. And there’s arguably little room for nuance: according to HHS, 80% of all Americans are not meeting current PA recommendations, a failure that is contributing the prevalence of a host of chronic health conditions.

The new guidelines, with their emphasis on the importance of movement to prevent disease and extend life no matter an individual’s age, echo many perspectives long-championed by APTA and its members.

Full story at APTA

If you’ve got MS, exercise means much more than moving

For people with multiple sclerosis, the meaning of exercise stretches way beyond health and keeping fit, shows new research revealing what life’s really like with the condition.

From a way to cope and a road to freedom, through to sparking a sense of loss, for people with MS the idea of exercise and physical activity is shown to signify several things.

Two and a half million people worldwide have the condition, which damages nerves in the brain and spinal cord. And exercise and physical activity are shown to ease symptoms.

Researchers at Brunel University London carried out in-depth interviews with people with MS to find out how they really think and feel about exercise and physical activity.

Full story at Medical Xpress

 

Associations of grip strength with cardiovascular, respiratory, and cancer outcomes and all cause mortality

In a nutshell previous studies have demonstrated an association between low grip strength and poor health outcomes (in other words increased mortality). On the whole previous studies have had too small sample sizes to detect disease specific mortality and have been unable to clearly show relationship with age. The Biobank study has an adequate number of participants, some 500,000, to be able to detect disease and age specific nuances in this relationship.

Some serious math too place in the analysis of the study’s findings and I’m not the one to talk you through the finer details. In essence lower grip strength was strongly associated with adverse health outcomes. This was consistent between gender and remained robust after adjustment for socioeconomic factors. Compared to other commonly used tools grip strength is arguably as reliable as systolic BP and low levels of physical activity to predict a person’s poor overall health.

Full story at Physiospot

CDC: 40% of Patients With Arthritis Don’t Receive Exercise Counseling From Providers

Better, but still plenty of room for improvement—that’s the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) take on a recent analysis of the rate at which health care providers are counseling patients with arthritis to engage in physical activity (PA). The good news: the percentage of individuals with arthritis who received provider counseling for exercise grew by 17.6% between 2002 and 2014. The bad news: even after that growth, nearly 4 in 10 patients with arthritis still aren’t receiving any information from their providers on the benefits of PA.

The CDC analysis, which appeared in a recent edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, uses data from the National Health Interview Survey gathered in 2002 and 2014. In those years, the survey included a question on whether respondents had been told they have “arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia,” as well as a question asking whether “a doctor or other health professional [has] ever suggested physical activity or exercise to help your arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story at APTA

Study: Even Small Amounts of PA Can Reduce CVD Risk Among the Elderly

It’s no secret that physical activity (PA) can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in middle-aged adults, but researchers in England have found that the relationship also applies to the elderly, and that even small amounts of PA can markedly lower the chances of CVD hospitalization and death in this age group.

Researchers used data from the EPIC study, a 10-country prospective population study, to track CVD-related hospitalizations and deaths among 24,502 participants, aged 39-79 years, and compare those with participants’ self-reported PA. This isn’t the first study of its kind, but authors believe it is notable because of its focus on participants 65 and older, and its 18-year median follow-up duration—a relatively long time span that allowed researchers to follow some participants into old age. Findings were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Full story at APTA

Perceiving oneself as less physically active than peers is linked to a shorter lifespan

Would you say that you are physically more active, less active, or about equally active as other people your age?

Your answer might be linked to your risk of premature death decades from now — no matter how physically active you actually are, according to research by Stanford scholars Octavia Zahrt and Alia Crum.

The research, appearing July 20 in Health Psychology, finds that people who think they are less active than others in a similar age bracket die younger than those who believe they are more active — even if their actual activity levels are similar.

Full story at Science Daily

Study: Chemical ‘Marker’ Sheds Light on Cognitive Benefits of Aerobic Exercise Among Older Adults

The connection between physical activity (PA) and the slowing or prevention of cognitive decline in the elderly has been widely recognized, but an explanation of just how PA works on the brain’s chemistry has been more elusive. Now researchers in Germany believe they’ve isolated a chemical marker that helps identify PA’s neuroprotective effects.

The research project itself was fairly straightforward: split 53 cognitively healthy individuals 65 and older into 2 groups—the first of which received 3 half-hour supervised cycle training sessions per week for 12 weeks, and the second of which did not increase their PA—and then measure a host of factors associated with cognitive decline at the beginning and end of the 12-week training program. Researchers didn’t limit their investigation to chemical markers but also included evaluations of gray matter volume and cognitive performance tests. Results were published in Translational Psychiatry.

Full story of chemical marker helps identify PA’s neuroprotective effects at APTA