Researchers have uncovered the pathways behind the protection offered by environmental stimulation in Alzheimer’s disease, further confirming that enhanced mental and physical activity slows neurological decline.
Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of senile dementia, presents with cognitive and behavioral deficiencies resulting in part from accumulation of b-amyloid (Ab) deposits within the brain (Ab plaques) and its blood vessels (amyloid angiopathy). Although previous studies have shown that increased mental and physical activity can slow the progression of the disease, how such deceleration occurs has been unclear until now.
Dr. Kathy Keyvani’s group at University Hospital Muenster examined the effects of environmental stimulation on the brain pathology of TgCRND8 mice. These mice, which express a mutant form of Ab found in some Alzheimer’s patients, develop Alzheimer-like features including Ab plaques and cognitive deficits. To study the effects of enrichment, mice were housed in either standard cages or enriched cages, similar to the standard but with access to a stimulus cage containing permanent fixtures (rope and gnawing wood) as well as removable items (tunnels, balls, ladders, ramps, and exercise wheels) that were changed on a rotating basis.
Following five months of standard versus enriched housing, mouse brains were examined for signs of disease. Mice housed in the enriched environment had fewer Ab plaques, smaller plaque size, and reduced amyloid angiopathy compared to mice housed in standard cages.
Enriched mice exhibited down-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes but up-regulation of genes related to anti-inflammatory processes, protein degradation and cholesterol binding. This data suggest that an enriched environment elicits protection via pathways that prevent Ab accumulation and enhance its clearance.
The authors speculate that the altered expression of inflammatory genes may shift the immune response from one that is neurotoxic to one that is phagocytic (eating up the plaques).
This data provide strong evidence that an environment rich in mental and physical stimulation slows the progression of Alzheimer-like brain pathology.
– American Journal of Pathology.
Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec’s comments on slowing Alzheimer’s disease, keeping the mind and body active.
The message is clear what the research shows in this article, is if you don’t use it, you lose it, in mind and in body. What they showed was an Alzheimer’s type of mice that produced the same plaquing in the nervous system that Alzheimer’s disease patients, humans, get. These mice were what they used to research Alzheimer’s disease in humans, because of the plaque they produce. What they found was when they put, what they called, enrichment in their cages, which was exercise wheels, and different things in which they had to use their mind and body more, what they found was anything that made them use their mind and body more, caused a decrease of the pro-inflammatory genes, and a build up in the genes that regulated the anti-inflammatory process. So the altered expression of these inflammatory genes caused the immune cells to eat up the plagues. The wonderful thing about this study is that all things are possible for him who believes. When you follow your heart and do what God’s put in your heart, anything can happen. Any situation, condition, symptoms, diseases can be reversed. This was reversed simply by having mice use their body and mind more with exercise and going through tunnels and going through different situations where their mind was exercised. How we apply this to actual life whether an Alzheimer’s patient or a regular person, is we are called to use our mind in a way that keeps it stimulated. They have shown that this has a similar effect in elderly people that do crossword puzzles. Also never discount the importance of physical exercise.
The body was meant to move. Life is motion. We stop the motion, we stop the life. So, the best types of exercise to keep the body moving are rebounding, lymphatic exercise, rebounding cellular exercise, cardio-vascular exercise, stretching exercise and strengthening exercises. All these can be done on a rebounder, and when instructed with rebounding technique with a rebounding DVD. Other very good forms of exercise are cardio vascular exercises alternatives to rebounding are, swimming, which is one of the best exercises of all outside of rebounding, the negative side is swimming in a toxic chlorinated pool, as opposed to an ocean or a lake, or chemical free pool. Walking is an excellent exercise, as long as you do it at a brisk pace to get the cardio vascular rate up. Another good form of exercise is weight training, or preferably, a calisthenics or body exercises. These are push ups, pull ups, things of that nature. And also stretching exercises. Just generally stretching all muscle groups. Just one additional comment on mental exercise. God gave us a mind but our mind can be a dangerous thing when the mind comes against what God has put in our heart. There is the conscious thinking mind, and then there is the sub-conscious mind or stored memory mind, and each part of these has a division of what we call the new mind and the old mind. The new nature and the old nature. So your old nature mind is the part that has the strongholds of the mind or the blockages of the heart. This is the world filled mind, the false belief system mind, the religion filled mind, the ego filled mind, the personality filled mind, the flesh filled mind, the five senses bound mind, the time bound mind, and the physicality bound mind. These nine strongholds of the mind, or blockages of the heart are our greatest challenge to overcome when we walk a life in the Spirit from the heart. What we rather fill our conscious mind up with, our thinking mind, with things that build us up in the Spirit, in our body, mind spirit journey.
To close, we want to follow our heart. When we follow our heart, our mind, our body, our spirit will all be one, they will all be transformed into His image and likeness. And we want to use our body, the body was meant to be in motion, it was meant to stay active. This promotes health at all levels