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Alright, with the recent passing of the former first lady, Nancy Reagan who up until her death survived the former President Ronald Reagan, this particular story might be of interest to senior citizens and younger people who have older parents.

Why? Well, I read a while back that Nancy Reagan had been dealing with a long period of grief and sadness due to her husband’s death in 2004 and his battle with Alzheimer’s prior to his departure. Now, as most of us already know, Alzheimer’s can be a very, very painful and stressful disease for anyone to deal with. This disease affects not only the patient, but could also place a lot of stress on the loved ones of the sufferer as one literally has to watch the patient lose his or her memory and end up becoming a shell of him or herself.

So, it goes without saying that most of us will do anything to prevent or drastically reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by any means possible…as long as it’s a sensible means, that is.

Well, here’s something worth noting, a new study suggest that regular physical activity, including gardening or dancing, may cut Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 50 percent.

Very tellingly, the researchers who analyzed lifestyle habits and brain scans of nearly 900 older adults found that any activity that gets you moving on a regular basis seems to help the brain increase gray matter. This, in turn, may keep dementia at bay.

Now, here’s a statement from lead researcher Dr. Cyrus Raji who is a postdoctoral researcher in radiology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He says: “Any type of physical activity that burns calories — from jogging to gardening to walking to dancing — is associated with more gray matter in the brain, The most important thing is that this physical activity MUST be regular.”

He goes on to add, more gray matter means a healthier brain and correlates with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, it should be noted that Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive brain disorder, affects 5.1 million Americans and is predicted to increase significantly over the next 30 years.

People, because there is no cure, Raji said the focus needs to be on prevention.

Going further into this story, the report was published March 11 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease furthermore; according to another expert, James Hendrix, the study doesn’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship between aerobic activity and gray matter growth.

HOWEVER, people the Hendrix (who is the director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association) says “Nevertheless, exercise is important, what’s good for your heart is good for your brain, which includes exercise.”

Hendrix said that the sooner you become physically active, the better. “Exercise should be part of your lifestyle,” he explained.

He goes on to suggest that “While fear of dying from a heart attack hasn’t motivated people to exercise, perhaps the prospect of dying from Alzheimer’s disease is scarier and more motivating, With Alzheimer’s disease, it’s a long, slow, painful way to die.”

Now, using estimates of weekly calorie expenditure, the researchers found that greater physical activity was associated with larger brain size in areas linked to memory and learning.

People with the brain benefit from physical activity saw their risk of Alzheimer’s disease decline by half.

So, with that being said, yet another brain specialist Dr. Sam Gandy, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City considers the findings noteworthy.

Gandy’s statement: “I think that these data should compel all physicians to provide some specific advice to everyone they see, either well or unwell, I have thought for some time that the most important single thing I can tell patients in order to prevent or slow down the progression of dementia is to provide them with some structured, minimal, routine exercise regimen, This is super important.”

Well, people, the other expert (Dr. Raji)  that I previously mentioned in this article suggest: “If you are going to do a physical activity to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, do the activity that you most enjoy, that you feel the most comfortable doing, because that’s the activity you are most likely to sustain throughout your life.”

But, let me throw in my 2 cents….

Eat properly, stay hydrated, work out and…it won’t hurt to pray.

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