Exercise has numerous benefits, including improving physical health, but did you know that it can also support brain health and cognition, especially as we age? This is what a clinical trial sought to investigate. This trial wanted to see how one session of aerobic exercise affects blood flow in the brain and certain proteins that are linked to exercise and brain function. They tested this in older adults who either had or didn't have a certain gene (Apolipoprotein epsilon 4 (APOE4)) that increases their risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.
The study had 62 older adults who were around 73 years old and 67% of them were women. Everyone did a 15-minute workout that wasn't too hard. The main thing they were measuring was how much blood was flowing in the gray matter part of the brain before and after the exercise. They also checked some proteins in the blood that are related to brain function.
The study found that blood flow in the brain went up right after the exercise, no matter if the person had the APOE4 gene or not. They also looked at different parts of the brain and saw that blood flow went up in one part called the hippocampus, but didn't change in another part called the cerebellum. However, when they looked at the proteins in the blood, they didn't see any big changes in either group of people.
The study showed that whether or not someone had the APOE4 gene, they had the same response to exercise in terms of blood flow in the brain and the proteins related to brain function. They also found out that when you exercise, blood flow in the brain may only go up in certain parts of the brain, and that the proteins affected by exercise might not work the same way as someone gets older.
Exercise has long been known to have a positive impact on physical health, but these findings suggest that it can also support brain health and cognition, especially in older adults. The study's findings are significant because Alzheimer's disease is a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While the study did not show a significant difference in the neurotrophic response to exercise between APOE4 carriers and non-carriers, the study's results could help researchers better understand the relationship between exercise and Alzheimer's disease.
This trial shows that exercising is really good for the brain and thinking, especially for older people. The researchers found out that when you exercise, blood flow in the brain can go up in certain parts, and different proteins in the blood might change too. While more research is needed to better understand the relationship between exercise and Alzheimer's disease, these findings suggest that exercise could be an essential tool in the fight against the disease.