Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have identified a hormonal connection that explains how exercise can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In a recent study published in the journal Neuron, the researchers unveiled that a hormone known as irisin, which is released in the body during exercise, can play a crucial role in reducing the accumulation of a protein fragment called amyloid beta within brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients. These amyloid beta deposits are known to form plaques in the brain, believed to be responsible for the characteristic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

While the scientific community has long recognized the positive impact of physical exercise on reducing amyloid beta deposits in Alzheimer’s disease, the underlying mechanisms had remained elusive.

Numerous long-term studies have consistently shown that individuals who maintain high levels of physical activity throughout their lives are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s
disease as they age. According to data compiled by the Alzheimer’s Society from 11 such studies, regular exercise can lower the risk of developing dementia by approximately 30%. Furthermore, for Alzheimer’s specifically (which is a form of dementia), the risk reduction can be as high as 45%. Other activities, such as solving puzzles, playing card games, engaging in chess, participating in adult education classes, and undertaking intellectually challenging activities, have also been linked to a reduced risk of dementia in individuals over the age of 70

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