We already suspected physical exercise play a role in preventing brain shrinkage in the elderly. A new study, which spans twenty years seems to confirm what we suspected for some time. The best way to prevent brain atrophy would sport.The study of the Boston University School of Medicine, exercise in middle-aged individuals can lead to better brain health on long term. Participants under 40 years less physically fit were more likely to suffer signs of brain atrophy 20 years later. Conversely, this was not the case for those who were more physically fit.

The methodology

According to study published February 10 in the American Journal of Neurology, brain atrophy observed among participants was low but still significant enough to create risks of memory loss and dementia. To reach these conclusions, researchers have exploited the Framingham Heart Study data, a program followed three generations over nearly 70 years.

The research group, led by by Nicole spartano of the Boston University School of Medicine, analyzed nearly 1,100 participants in the Framingham program having conducted tests on treadmills and MRI when they were 40 years old. Participants were not subject to heart disease or dementia. The same participants had performed a similar test 20 after later.

The test on treadmill provided information about the physical and heart health of participants, while assessing their endurance. This calculation was based on the length supported on the treadmill before their heart reaches 85% of maximum heart rate. The time spent on the treadmill was then used to estimate maximal oxygen consumption in one minute (VO2max).

result, in healthy individuals, VO2 peaks represent 30 to 40 mL / kg / min (milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute). For top athletes, for example, the rate is twice as high.

According to another study, people whose diets are rich in Omega 3 and vitamins C, D, E and B are less prone to present signs of narrowing brain linked to Alzheimer’s disease. We find these nutrients mainly in fish. For vitamin B and C and E antioxidants, it is found in fruits and vegetables.

The factors favoring brain atrophy

aging is inevitably one of the main causes of the loss of neurons, or brain shrinkage of causing brain atrophy. Other factors, however, can accelerate the process.

A high alcohol intake may accelerate brain atrophy. In a study from Wellesley College in 2007, the researchers found that drinking more than 14 drinks a week on average not cause a reduction in brain volume compared to skull size compared with those who did not drink. And their conclusion was that the more alcohol you drink, the more brain volume shrinks.

Smoking kills. That is what is written in big letters on cigarette packages in Europe and most countries of the world. What they say less often is that smoking kills brain cells …. A 2010 study shows link brain atrophy and chronic smoking. It seems that smoking is therefore associated with cognitive impairment, impaired learning process, and working memory. Smoking would be linked to different forms of neurodegenerative diseases.

Moreover, certain disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Huntington’s disease may result in decreased brain volume. Severe brain damage (due to impact, for example) can also damage brain tissue and thus enhance cognitive disorders.

Source: Medical News Today

MH Dufays