Friday, 19 August 2016

Healthy lifestyle reduces build-up of sticky brain plaques which lead to Alzheimer’s, scientists show!

Exercise and a good diet reduce the build-up of sticky brain plaques which lead to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have shown for the first time.
Large studies have consistently reported that people who are more active and eat healthily are less likely to develop dementia.
Now for the first time, researchers at the University of California Los Angeles have shown on brain scans that a healthy lifestyle reduces the build-up of amyloid proteins and tau tangles which stop brain cells from communicating, and eventually cause Alzheimer’s disease.
"The fact that we could detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us," said Dr David Merrill, the lead author of the study, which appears in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
“It reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer's, even before the development of clinically significant dementia.
“This work lends key insight not only into the ability of patients to prevent Alzheimer's disease, but also physicians' ability to detect and image these changes."

In the study 44 adults aged between 40 and 85, who were already suffering from mild memory changes, underwent scans to measure the level of plaques and tangles in their brains.
Researchers also collected information on participants' body mass index, levels of physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors.

The study found that a healthy body mass index, physical activity and a Mediterranean diet each lowered the levels of plaques and tangles by between one and three per cent, which could be enough to delay the onset of dementia.
Healthy lifestyles have also been shown to be related to reduced shrinking of the brain and lower rates of atrophy in people with Alzheimer's.


Around 800,000 people suffer from dementia in Britain and the majority have Alzheimer’s disease. The numbers are expected to grow significantly as the population ages.
Dr Clare Walton, research manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “From this study, we can’t say that an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle causes an increase in plaques and tangles, but it does suggest a possible new avenue for researchers to explore further.
“Regardless of how it works, the message is clear, there are steps people can take to keep their heads healthy as well as their hearts as they age.”
Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “We know that certain lifestyle factors are linked to a greater risk of dementia and this small study highlights some of the biological processes that might be underlying the risk increase.
“The study reinforces the importance of eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular exercise in order to maintain brain health as we age.”
The researchers now want to combine imaging with other modifiable lifestyle factors, such as stress to see they can also reduce the brain plaques.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/08/16/healthy-lifestyle-reduces-build-up-of-sticky-brain-plaques-which/

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