Exercise keeps you healthy – even the gray mass.
Does sport protect against dementia? In any case, it helps the brain, as new research underlines. But the trend doesn’t stop at physical activity.
es sick father, mother, friend or colleague of dementia, the question inevitably arises: can I get it too? How can I protect myself from this terrible disease, which increasingly removes those affected from their environment and ultimately requires care? Sport and exercise usually play a major role in many such considerations. In the specialist journal “Mayo Clinic Proceedings”, researchers from the University of Greifswald around Hans Jörgen Grabe and Katharina Wittfeld have now provided further information on how important physical exercise can be for brain function and presumably also for the prevention of dementia. In short, the better the physical fitness, the greater the measured brain volume of the test subjects. The Greifswald researchers interpret this as a sign of improved brain health and a slower age-related breakdown of the brain mass in older people.
The scientists examined 2103 adults between the ages of 21 and 84. The participants first pedaled on a bicycle ergometer to determine their physical fitness. The maximum oxygen uptake was measured. It indicates how much oxygen the body can use per minute under maximum load and is an indicator of the training status of the cardiovascular system. In addition, the scientists measured the total brain volume of their subjects and the volumes of gray and white matter using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Medicines refer to the areas on the surface and deep inside the brain that primarily contain the cell bodies of the nerve cells as a gray substance. In the white areas in the middle there are mainly the extensions of the nerve cells, i.e. nerve fibers, some of which extend through the spinal cord into the body.