HealthDay News — Even among individuals at high genetic risk for Alzheimer disease, exercise may delay symptom onset, according to a study published online Sept. 25 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Stephan Müller, PhD, from the University of Tübingen in Germany, and colleagues examined 372 individuals participating in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network to evaluate the cross-sectional relationship of physical activity with cognitive performance, functional status, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid.

The researchers found that mutation carriers with high physical activity showed significantly better cognitive and functional performance and significantly less Alzheimer disease-like pathology in cerebrospinal fluid compared with individuals with low physical activity. Compared with low exercisers, mutation carriers with high physical activity scored 3.4 points better on the Mini Mental State Examination at expected symptom onset and met the diagnostic criteria of very mild dementia 15.1 years later.

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“These results support a beneficial effect of physical activity on cognition and [Alzheimer] disease pathology even in individuals with genetically driven autosomal dominant [Alzheimer] disease,” the authors write.

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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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