London: Walking at least eight kilometres a week may slow the progression of Alzheimer`s disease –a cognitive disorder that affects memory, thinking ability and
behaviour, a new decade-long research has claimed.
A team from the University of Pittsburg in Pennsylvania found that walking at least five miles a week slowed the decline in memory skills in people showing early signs of the
disease and reduced brain shrinkage, thought to be a key sign of Alzheimer`s disease.
For their study, the team tracked 299 healthy adults and 127 people with mild cognitive decline, a precursor to Alzheimer`s disease, for ten years.
It was found that the further people walked in a week the bigger their brains were when measured using MRI scans.
Study author Dr Cyrus Raji, from the Department of Radiology at the university, said: "Because a cure for Alzheimer`s is not yet a reality, we hope to find ways of alleviating disease progression or symptoms in people who are already cognitively impaired.
The people with cognitive impairment needed to walk around five miles per week to maintain brain volume over ten years.
They also showed a slow decline in memory skills dropping by only one point in tests over five years when compared with five points for those who walked less.
Healthy adults needed to walk around six miles per week to maintain their brain volume and cognitive scores.
Dr Raji said: "Alzheimer`s is a devastating illness, and unfortunately, walking is not a cure."
"But walking can improve your brain`s resistance to the disease and reduce memory loss over time," Dr Raji was was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
The findings were presented to the annual meeting of the
Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).