Diet, exercise may slow decline in some Alzheimer's patients: Study



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A healthy diet and consistent exercise may slow decline in some early-stage Alzheimer’s disease patients, according to research published Friday. 

The study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy, found that patients in a group who implemented “intensive” lifestyle changes — like eating whole foods, exercising moderately and performing stress management techniques — saw their dementia symptoms stabilize. In the other group, patients who did not alter their habits found their thinking and memory continued to worsen.

There were 51 patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), all between the ages of 45 and 90, enrolled in the study between September 2018 and June 2022, per the report.

The patients were offered a vegan diet with high amounts of complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It was low in processed sugars and harmful fats, but calorie intake was unrestricted.

For exercise, they walked or did some strength exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week. Stress management was predominantly handled through yoga, breathing exercises and stretching. 

“Clearly, intensive lifestyle changes rather than moderate ones seem to be required to improve cognition and function in those suffering from early-stage AD,” researchers said. 

Around 6.9 million Americans, ages 65 or older, have dementia related to Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The mind-robbing disease has prompted researchers and drug companies to spend billions to come up with a drug to assist in fighting it.

Only two drugs have won approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so far: Leqembi and Aduhelm.



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