Study could help doctors prescribe the right exercise to battle dementia
What's the right amount to deter Alzheimer's disease? And why do some older adults stay the course and others don't? An Orlando researcher researcher is coordinating a major study to answer these questions.
Physical exercise is good for our brains as we age.
But why is that? And what's the right amount to deter dementias like Alzheimer's disease? And why do some older adults stay the course and others don't?
Kirk Erickson, a leading researcher on exercise and dementia working at the AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute, is coordinating a major study to answer those questions.
The five-year effort, under the acronym FLAME for Follow-up Longitudinal Analysis of Moderate-intensity Exercise, will reexamine more than 600 older adults in three cities who participated in an earlier clinical trial, according to Advent Health. That trial — the IGNITE study — explored the effects of exercise on brain health.
Its results, delayed because of COVID-19, are still pending.
FLAME is paid for with an $11 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. Erickson said it takes that investment "because we want to reevaluate them with everything.
"We want to know how physically active they are. We want to test their memory. We need to put them into an MRI machine. We want to reassess them on as many things as we can so that we can really plot the trajectory of change and determine whether we can predict any of those changes.
He said the study could help doctors write the right prescription for exercise tailored for individual seniors.
"[E]xercise affects the brain," he said. "That's established. What we want to do, and what we've been trying to do is really provide a more definitive statement about the impact of exercise behaviors on reducing age-related cognitive impairments."
In addition to AdventHealth, the University of Pittsburgh, Northeastern University and the University of Kansas Medical Center will serve as research sites, according to Advent Health.
The research will start early next year.
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