Heart disease: Exercise can reduce your risk as well as protect the brain – new study

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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The NHS recommends a person engage in at least two and a half hours of exercise every week.

Meanwhile, a new study has been looking at how exercise impacts not just cardiovascular health, but brain health.

Published in the journal Neurology the research found exercise increases brain glucose metabolism.

Subsequently, this improved metabolism correlates with an improvement in brain function.

As well as increasing brain glucose metabolism exercise also helps a person to reduce their BMI, their body mass index and improve their insulin levels.

Exercise’s impact on brain health comes from its ability to improve cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure.

Researchers also looked into whether exercise could reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by reducing the amount of amyloid plaque, the substance in the brain known to cause Alzheimer’s.

Results showed it had no impact on this substance.

Speaking about the results Dr Raeanne Moore said: “This study adds to the growing body of research on the positive benefits of staying active on brain health, especially as we age”.

Dr Moore added: “Decreasing insulin levels and losing weight are modifiable factors that can be improved with a healthy diet and exercise.

“It was not surprising that higher physical activity was not associated with how much amyloid plaque people had in their brains. There is growing evidence vascular risk factors on cognitive function are mediated by the amount of tau pathology in the brain and not an amyloid burden”.

Dementia, the umbrella of neurodegenerative conditions, is a condition with no effective treatments or a cure.

In the past dementia was seen as an inevitable part of ageing, something that occurred as the body declined.

However, that has changed in recent decades.

Rather than an inevitability of life, dementia is now seen as a disease, and one that can be treated; millions of pounds have now flooded into dementia research in quest for a cure.

Scientists, such as Race Against Dementia’s Dr Cara Croft, now believe new treatments could be available in as little as a decade.

For the patients of the future this is potentially good news, but for those in the present it is too late.

Patients like rugby player Steve Thompson who was diagnosed with early onset dementia 16 months ago.

Winner of the Rugby World Cup with England in 2003, Thompson can no longer remember previous glories and now struggles to remember the names of his wife and children.

Thompson and his family are one of thousands of people who will suffer this year as a result of dementia.

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