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Interdisciplinary Health Programs
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is America’s most common neurodegenerative disease affecting over 5.4 million Americans (Fernández et al., 2017). A literature review was completed to assess the possible relation between physical activity and the progression of AD. Articles were collected from various peer-reviewed, published journals using the available databases of Western Michigan University library which included PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Keywords used for the database searches included “Alzheimer”, “Alzheimer’s Disease”, “neurodegeneration”, “aging brain”, “exercise”, and “physical activity”. Based upon the literature reviewed, aerobic exercise appears to slow the progression of AD and possibly reverses it slightly in some cases. Neurologically this is observed with -amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles beginning to breakdown, and hippocampal volume increasing. There are a few instances where neural synapses increase, and neuronal activity improves. As the cause of AD is still predominantly unknown, there are very few treatments and prevention opportunities available at this time, therefore, many people are turning towards non-pharmacological care such as physical exercise.
Savitski, Amanda, "The Effects of Exercise on the Cognitive Function of Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease" (2018). Honors Theses. 3054.
Honors Thesis-Open Access