Exercise will help combat Alzheimer’s in later life

Exercise can help prevent Alzheimer's disease in later life. Picture: Gareth Easton

Exercise can help prevent Alzheimer's disease in later life. Picture: Gareth Easton

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Taking up regular exercise in middle-age will still help keep Alzheimer’s at bay in later years, according to new research.

Maintaining a healthy regime into older age is a good way to prevent brain inflammation, which is thought to leave a person vulnerable to Alzeimer’s.

As a person gets older, blood supply to the brain begins to reduce and the blood-brain barrier, a semi-permeable membrane separating the blood from the cerebrospinal fluid, can become leaky.

Hard work provided by cells known as pericyctes, which maintain the barrier, and astrocytes, which are important support cells, begins to slow down with the aging process.

As these cells stop functioning as well the leaking blood-brain barrier causes the inflammation.

But this inflammation is, at least in part, avoidable, say scientists at The Jackson Laboratory in Maine.

Their results were published in the Open Access Journal PLOS Biology and showed that exercise is key in maintaining good neural function. The team tested mice at different ages. As the mice reached the equivalent of 60 human years, those who had a wheel were better at engaging in spontaneous behaviour.

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