Exercise may lower epilepsy risk for men
All that hard work at the gym may pay off in the long run for young guys. A new study in the medical journal Neurology shows young men with a vigorous workout regimen may lower their risk of epilepsy later in life by 79 percent compared to those who don’t exercise often, and 36 percent compared to those with a moderate amount of exercise. This is the first human study to examine the relationship between fitness and reduced epilepsy risk.
Elinor Ben-Menachem PhD, MD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden conducted the study using 1.17 million Swedish men when they enlisted in the military service at age 18. Each man completed cycle tests that measured their cardiovascular fitness. Over the next 25 years, the men were regularly checked for epilepsy. In the end, 6,796 men were diagnosed as epileptic. The study also noted a relationship between the amount of exercise and the probability of epilepsy. Men with high fitness levels had 0.48 percent chance of epilepsy, men with medium fitness level had 0.62 percent chance, and men with low fitness levels had 1.09 percent chance.
Dr. Ben-Menachem says exercise may protect the brain and build strong brain reserves, thus, reducing the risk of epilepsy. However, more research is required to determine a stronger connection between fitness and epilepsy.