AARP - Exercising the Body, Using the Brain May Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease

 – February 8, 2012  –– 

Lifelong habits of exercising regularly and staying mentally active may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, two new studies suggest. In one study, scientists found that a history of exercise seemed to fend off brain damage in people who carry a gene that is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Sam Gandy, M.D., a leading Alzheimer’s researcher at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said that while the study reinforces the current recommendation to exercise as a way of lowering the risk of dementia, many questions need to be answered before researchers start developing recommendations for mental exercise. “How do you compare crossword puzzles with violin playing? Which is better? How many times per day? How many days per week?” says Dr. Gandy. “It is easy to reduce physical activity to a prescription, but harder to do the same for mental exercise.”
- Dr. Sam Gandy, Professor, Neurology, Psychiatry, Associate Director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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