From the New York Times Science section, Tuesday, October 11th:
Of course, as is in most studies dealing with exercise, “exercise” here is defined as physical leisure activity, which could encompass anything from gardening to downhill mountain biking to sex. But more importantly, the study seems to suggest that leading an active lifestyle is indeed a good thing.
It may be possible that those who are more active are less susceptible to getting Alzheimer’s disease, rather than exercise having some protective effect. After all, that’s the confounding factor in other longitudinal studies like the Harvard Nurses Study, Framingham Heart Study, etc. According to the article, “the researchers adjusted their study to eliminate other influences like age, sex, education, movement disorders, vascular illness, smoking, and alcohol consumption,” but I’ll believe it when I actually read the study.
It does seem to make outward sense – more neurological stimulation (via movement and proprioception) would equal greater protection from neurological decay from the “use-it or lose-it” standpoint.
As if there weren’t enough reason to lead an active lifestyle – damn the consequences.