This Mother’s Day give the gift of brain health

University of British researcher Teresa Liu-Ambrose, PhD, P.T. and her associates published a study in the April 23 Archives of Internal Medicine thatrevealed older women improved mild problems in thinking and memory by performing resistance exercises. Megan Brooks, writing for Medscape Medical News, summarized the study:

Six months of twice-weekly resistance training (RT) improved executive function, associative memory, and regional patterns of functional brain plasticity in a group of older women with probable mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

In previous work, Liu-Ambrose had reported “improved executive function in cognitively healthy older women” who performed resistance exercises twice a week for one year. The current study suggests an even more powerful effect of resistance training: it can improve mild cognitive dysfunction in just six months.

Maybe this Mother’s Day, consider taking mom to the sporting goods store for some barbells.

Even more good news for mom (and dad)


Image: istockphotoIn addition to resistance training, daily activity is also important for maintaining brain health. A recent study published in the April 24 issue of Neurology found daily physical activity reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Nicholas Bakalar, writing for The New York Times, notes the study:

….included 716 people, average age 82, without cognitive impairment. Each wore a wrist actigraph, a device that measures movement, for about 10 days to establish his or her usual level of daily physical activity. Over the next four years, 71 of them developed Alzheimer’s.

The research found those performing the highest level of physical activity reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by half compared to those that were the least active.         

Maybe it’s is time to put the computer down and take mom and dad for a walk. If they have passed on as my parents have, walk in their memory.