Prevent Alzheimer’s by getting leaner muscles from regular gym workouts, study says
- US researchers used information from 450,243 people in the UK Biobank study
- People with lifetime higher lean muscle mass had a 12 percent lower risk
Not only is it good for the body, being slim can also help the mind, research shows.
Having high levels of muscle mass has been linked to a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
People with a lifetime higher lean muscle mass had a 12 percent lower risk, researchers found, as well as improved brainpower in old age.
Obesity is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but while lower levels of lean muscle have been linked to a greater risk, it’s not clear whether this comes before or after a diagnosis.
To find out, the University of California San Francisco researchers used a genetic prediction technique called Mendelian randomization to obtain data on the link between muscle mass and Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers at the University of California San Francisco estimated lean muscle and fat tissue in the arms and legs, taking into account age, gender and genetic origin. On average, higher lean muscle mass was associated with a modest but statistically robust reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, they said.
A study by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine revealed that global cases of dementia will nearly triple by 2050, from 57.4 million to 152.8. But the disease rate is expected to increase, varies between different parts of the world. In Western Europe, cases are expected to rise by just 75 percent, mainly due to an aging population, while they are expected to double in North America. But the biggest increase is expected in North Africa and the Middle East, where cases are expected to rise by 375 percent. Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia
They drew on information from 450,243 people in the UK Biobank study – an independent sample of 21,982 people with Alzheimer’s disease; and 41,944 people without; and another sample of 7329 people with; and 252,879 people without the disease to validate the findings.
The researchers estimated lean muscle and fat tissue in the arms and legs, taking into account age, gender and genetic origin.
On average, higher lean muscle mass was associated with a modest but statistically robust reduction in Alzheimer’s risk, they said.
This finding was repeated in the further sample of 7,329 people with and 252,879 people without Alzheimer’s disease; using various measurements of lean muscle mass – trunk and whole body.
Lean mass was also associated with better performance on cognitive tasks, but this association did not explain lean mass’s protective effect on Alzheimer’s risk, researchers said.
Body fat was also not associated with Alzheimer’s risk, but it was associated with poorer cognitive task performance, according to the findings published in BMJ Medicine.
The authors wrote: ‘These analyzes provide new evidence supporting a causal relationship between lean body mass and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
They add that the findings “emphasize the importance of distinguishing lean mass from fat mass when examining the effect of obesity measures on health outcomes.”
But they suggest the findings need to be replicated elsewhere before informing public health or clinical practice.
They add: ‘More work is also needed to determine cut-off values for age and degree of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, beyond which lean body mass adjustments can no longer reduce risk.’
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of neurological conditions
A WORLDWIDE CARE
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a range of progressive neurological conditions (affecting the brain) that affect memory, thinking, and behavior.
There are many forms of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common.
Some people have a combination of different forms of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person experiences dementia in their own unique way.
Dementia is a global problem, but it is most common in wealthier countries, where people are likely to live very old.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer’s Society reports that there are more than 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. This is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting between 50 and 75 percent of those diagnosed.
There are an estimated 5.5 million Alzheimer’s patients in the US. A similar percentage increase is expected for the coming years.
As a person’s age increases, so does the risk of developing dementia.
The rate of diagnoses is improving, but many people with dementia are thought to remain undiagnosed.
IS THERE A MEDICINE?
Currently, there is no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow its progression, and the sooner it’s caught, the more effective treatments can be.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association