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Brisk Walking Helps Seniors' Memory Problems
Increased blood flow may give slight boost to aging brain, researchers say
September 2, 2008
CHICAGO - Brisk walking led to improvements on mental tests for older people with memory problems in what is billed as the first rigorous test of exercise on the aging brain, as written in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.
The effects of exercise were at least as good, if not better, than those seen with drugs approved to aid mental function in Alzheimer's disease, according to experts not involved in the study.
The authors said it's not clear how exercise might affect brain function; one theory is that it improves blood flow to the brain. Their study did not involve brain imaging that would have shown any changes in blood flow associated with exercise.
Study participants included 85 Australian adults aged 50 and older assigned to do at least two hours of weekly physical activity, mainly brisk walking, for six months. They recorded their exercise in diaries and also got phone calls and newsletters encouraging them to stick with it.
They were urged to remain active even after the initial six months, and were compared with a control group of 85 people who were not asked to exercise.
After six months, the exercise group performed 1.3 points better on a 70-point scale of brain function than the non-exercise group. The effects remained at 18 months, though the difference by then, about 0.7 points, was minimal.
"It's an important piece in that it's the first intervention in people with memory complaints that's showing some potential benefit," said Dr. Raj Shah, director of the memory clinic at Rush University Medical Center.
Source: The Associated Press, September 2, 2008     Weblink: MSNBC
Dr. Iverson's Comment
How can it get any more basic than Oxygenation and circulation? How much more simple can it be than following NATURE’S PATH utilizing fresh air, pure water, wholesome food, and movement.   Circulation = Life, Stagnation = Death and this function is an essential aspect of every single cell. (In fact our other article this week on “use it or lose it” utilizes this same concept!)
If this study is indicating that the more blood to the brain is effective then we want to encourage this flow in any way possible. At one time upside down machines (anti-gravity machines) and standing on your head were recommended for everything from senility to hair growth- this article validates this use. I would recommend anything that increases oxygenation and circulation- especially exercise, and exercise that requires coordination like dancing, aerobics, or boxing. 
In addition to increased oxygen, water, diet that is low in processed foods I would suggest these patients to increase their antioxidant protection with a variety of antioxidants found on the market. As well as keeping their brain active by working crossword puzzles, word finds, playing trivia board games, cards, reading books and writing.
Be well!


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