from Tufts University Health & Nutrition Update, January 20, 2012

Results of a new observational study at Washington University in St. Louis, published in the Archives of Neurology, offer hope to those genetically disposed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers imaged the brains of 163 participants, ages 45-88, with PET scans.  All were normal on a test for cognitive decline.

Fifty-two participants carried APOE epsilon-4, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s.  But the scans of the group of carriers who were physically active, meeting the American Heart Association guidelines for regular exercise, showed no more build up of amyloid plaques than found in the brains of non-carriers.

Though the study hadn’t been designed to prove cause and effect, scientists noted that the genetic risk “makes beneficial lifestyle factors, such as exercise, preferentially important.”

My Take on the study:  Sigmund Freud said anatomy is destiny.  This study says, not as long as people are aware of their choices and the consequences of their choices. 

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