Alzheimer’s disease is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 5.8 million U.S. citizens living with the disease. It’s no wonder, then, that scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to learn more about how to prevent and cure it. Here we take a look at some of the most recent findings in Alzheimer’s research:
Blood Sugar Levels and Their Link to Alzheimer’s
Scientists have long known that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s is higher for those with high blood sugar levels or Type 2 diabetes. Though there is no concrete answer to explain the connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, we do know that high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and brain cells. New research suggests that the process of glycolysis, when brain cells turn sugar into energy, helps get rid of the toxins in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, undesirable levels of blood sugar can lead to chronically disrupted sleep, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is imperative for all-around good health.
Aerobic Exercise Can Slow Down the Progression of Alzheimer’s
The benefits of regular exercise are numerous, and the idea that exercise has positive effects on slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s is widely accepted. A recent study compared a group of older adults with memory issues participating in regular aerobic exercise against a similar group participating in a stretching program. While participants in both groups saw improvements in memory and executive functioning, the aerobic exercisers had a decrease in amyloid plaque, known to destroy brain neurons, as well as less shrinkage of the hippocampus, integral to memory health. This news is just another reason why seniors should embark on an exercise routine that includes endurance training.
A Blood Thinner May Help to Combat Alzheimer’s
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shares that long-term use of an existing anticoagulant called dabigatran might slow down the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers tested their theory on mice and, after one year of regular use, found that the anticoagulant prevented memory decline, reduced amyloid plaque, maintained cerebral blood flow, and reduced biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings are significant, especially for Alzheimer’s patients with blood clots.
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