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Alzheimer’s & Exercise

July 28, 2016

Exercise may promote healthy communication between blood vessels and brain cells.


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Blood-brain communication. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of the brain, but the cardiovascular system also plays a role: active people are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than are sedentary people. Genomic scientist Gareth Howell at The Jackson Laboratory says there’s an important connection between our brain’s blood vessels and its neurons.

GARETH HOWELL (The Jackson Laboratory):

This is a critical communication that makes the nerve cells work to their maximum capacity. And if you don’t have a good communication with the blood vessels, that’s going to decline.


This communication begins to falter with aging, worsens with a poor diet, and can accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. But Howell and his colleagues report that in laboratory mice, exercise was remarkably effective at maintaining communication between blood vessels and brain cells, reducing Alzheimer’s progression. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.