Exercise can protect older people from brain damage
Staying physically active can help older people maintain good motor function even if they've experienced age-related brain damage. That's the conclusion of a new study at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and published in the journal _Neurology. _
The study looked at 167 participants with an average age of 80. They were asked to wear movement monitors to track their exercise up to 11 days. Additionally, their movement abilities were tested and MRI scans were used to examine white matter hyperintensities in their brains – indicators of brain damage associated with motor function impairment.
The results showed that for the most active 10 percent of participants, increased white matter hyperintensities did not affect their movement. However, for participants at the 50th percentile of physical activity, elevated brain damage was associated with decreased their motor function. Further tests are being conducted on the participants to allow researchers to report on the long-term changes in motor function and brain damage.
The researchers believe their findings could provide insight into how to better protect our brains from damage as we reach old age.