Brain Research Team

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Alzheimer’s disease
A simple walk for a healthy brain

It is well known that physical activity is beneficial for all and at all ages.

Stephen Cunnane, professor-researcher at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Sherbrooke and at the Research Centre on Aging, and his team have discovered that the practice of physical activity is also beneficial for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as it would allow their brain to function better. ” The brain consumes a lot of energy and it mainly uses the glucose from our food as fuel. When a person has Alzheimer’s disease, the brain is less able to use glucose, which leads to a deficiency of energy and causes memory problems,” explains Pr. Cunnane. The solution to this energy problem? Providing the brain with another fuel, ketones, plus doing some exercise which together may compensate for this glucose deficit.

Walking helps boost ketones
Stephen Cunnane’s team found that walking can stimulate ketones production which are actually derived from dietary or body fat. A study was carried out in ten people with mild Alzheimer’s disease. They were asked to follow a 15-40-minute supervised walking program three times a week for three months. “We found that regular walking increased the energy used by the brain and even seemed to improve the score on certain cognitive tests, including the speed of information processing,” says Pr. Cunnane.

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