Tuesday May 21, 2019

135 million Americans likely to suffer from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) by 2050: Study

In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives

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Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer's disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer's. VOA
  • In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives
  • In the Australian study, investigators showed that exercise in the form of progressive resistance training improved brain function in those over the age of 55
  • The findings confirm earlier studies this year on MRI that showed increases in the size of particular brain regions associated with improvements in cognitive training among the weight lifters

As populations continue to age, more and more people are going to begin to experience mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. But the results of a new study in Australia show that increased muscle strength can improve brain function in older adults.

In mild cognitive impairment, people have noticeably reduced memory but are able to lead otherwise normal lives.

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In the Australian study, investigators showed that exercise in the form of progressive resistance training improved brain function in those over the age of 55.

In the study, called the Study of Mental and Resistance training or SMART, 100 adults with MCI, between the ages of 55 and 86, were divided into four groups.

One group received lessons in resistance exercise and computerized cognitive training, another group was given resistance training but got placebo computerized training. Still another group received brain training but went through a fake exercise routine and a final group was given fakes in both exercise and cognitive training.

Researchers wanted to see whether there was a positive link between muscle strengthening and brain functioning.

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Resistance training included weight lifting sessions with gradually increased weights over time. Those who were able to lift weights to an intensity of 80 percent of their peak strength had the greatest improvement in cognitive function as measured by an Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale. The benefits endured even a year after the supervised strength training exercises stopped.

The findings were published in the Journal of American Geriatrics.

Researchers say the key is for older adults to do resistance strength training, like lifting weights, at least two times per week.

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The findings confirm earlier studies this year on MRI that showed increases in the size of particular brain regions associated with improvements in cognitive training among the weight lifters.

It could be that resistance exercise may be prescribed as a way to stave off cognitive impairment once the researchers confirm a link between muscle strength training and improved cognition in older patients. (VOA)

Next Story

Researchers Develop New Test to Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Even Before the Symptoms Occur

Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new test that could help doctors detect Alzheimer’s disease eight years before the first symptoms occur.

Using current techniques, Alzheimer’s disease, the most frequent cause of dementia, can only be detected once the typical plaques have formed in the brain.

At this point, therapy seems no longer possible. However, the first changes caused by Alzheimer’s take place on the protein level up to 20 years sooner.

“Once amyloid plaques have formed, it seems that the disease can no longer be treated,” said study co-author Andreas Nabers from Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

In Alzheimer’s patients, the amyloid beta protein folds incorrectly due to pathological changes long before the first symptoms occur.

A team of researchers headed by Klaus Gerwert from Ruhr-University Bochum successfully diagnosed this misfolding using a simple blood test. As a result, the disease could be detected approximately eight years before the first clinical symptoms occur.

A lady suffering from Alzheimer’s. Flickr

But experiments showed that the test was not suitable for clinical applications as the test provided false positive diagnoses for nine per cent of the study participants.

In order to increase the number of correctly identified Alzheimer’s cases, the researchers have now introduced the two-tier diagnostic method.

To this end, they use the original blood test to identify high-risk individuals. Subsequently, they add a dementia-specific biomarker, namely tau protein, to run further tests with those test participants whose Alzheimer’s diagnosis was positive in the first step.

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If both biomarkers show a positive result, there is a high likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease, said the study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

“Through the combination of both analyses, 87 of 100 Alzheimer’s patients were correctly identified in our study,” Gerwert said.

“Now, new clinical studies with test participants in very early stages of the disease can be launched,” Gerwert added. (IANS)