-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that an
active lifestyle may help protect against Alzheimer's-related brain
changes in people who have a well-known genetic risk factor. This
factor is the e4 allele (version) of the apolipoprotein E (APOE)
"The presence of an APOE e4 allele is the most established genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease, with a higher percentage of individuals with Alzheimer's disease having an e4 allele in comparison with the general population," the authors write in the article published online Jan. 9 in the journal Archives of Neurology.
It's been suggested that the presence or absence of this gene
variant might affect the relationship "between lifestyle factors
such as exercise engagement and risk of cognitive decline and
dementia," added researcher Denise Head and colleagues at
Washington University, St. Louis.
They examined the association between exercise and amyloid
deposits in the brain among 201 cognitively normal patients, ages
45 to 88, with and without the APOE e4 allele.
Deposits of amyloid protein in the brain have long been
associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Patients with an active lifestyle had less cerebral amyloid
deposition than those with a sedentary lifestyle, the study
The researchers conclude that the presence of the APOE e4 gene
"is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline and
elevated amyloid deposition." But they add that, "exercise
engagement has been associated with reduced risk of cognitive
decline and lower levels of amyloid deposition."
"In summary, our findings suggest that exercise at levels recommended by the AHA [American Heart Association] may be particularly beneficial in reducing the risk of brain amyloid deposition in cognitively normal e4-positive individuals," they concluded.
The Alzheimer's Association has more about
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