Monday, July 16, 2012

Strength Training, Alzheimer's, and Walking

Now that's an odd title...

Yes, it appears that, based on some observational research, these things are related. In some research released today during the International Conference of the Alzheimer's Association, poor walking habits and awkward gait can be signs of cognitive inhibition. There is no longer sensitivity integration between different parts of the brain and the rest of the body. You can read more about this at USA TODAY

But Strength Training...

According to another study released at the same conference, major improvements were found in test subjects that engaged in weight training:
Participants were tested for cognitive executive functions such as attention, memory and planning. According to [a lead investigator], “the cognitive executive function and associated memory – those are the two traits most linked to dementia.”
At the end of the trial, those in the weight lifting group were most improved.

So what's the point...

The goal is early detection. Diagnosing someone suffering from poor gait can predict if they are at risk for Alzheimer's disease, where previous indicators had included falling. Falling is one way to indicate that motor systems in an older adult are beginning to fail. To have a predictor before that would increase the likelihood of preventive care being successful in deterring the onset of the disease, for example.
Read more about falling and Alzheimer's