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Physical Fitness Tied to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

0 2 years ago

“One exciting finding of this study is that as people’s fitness improved, their risk of Alzheimer’s disease decreased — it was not an all-or-nothing proposition,” study investigator Edward Zamrini, MD, of the Washington VA Medical Center in Washington, DC, said in a news release.

The findings suggest that people can work toward making incremental changes and improvements in their physical fitness, which may help decrease their risk of dementia, Zamrini added.

The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 2022 Annual Meeting in April.

Effective Prevention Strategy

Using the Veterans Health Administration database, the researchers identified 649,605 veterans (mean age, 61 years) free of AD and related disorders (ADRD) when they completed standardized exercise treadmill tests between 2000 and 2017.

They divided participants into five age-specific fitness groups, from least fit to most fit, based on peak metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved during the treadmill test: lowest-fit (METs, ±3.8), low-fit (METs, ±5.8), moderate-fit (METs, ±7.5), fit (METs, ±9.2), and highest-fit (METs, ±11.7).

In unadjusted analysis, veterans with the lowest cardiorespiratory fitness developed ADRD at a rate of 9.5 cases per 1000 person-years, compared with a rate of 6.4 cases per 1000 person-years for the most fit group (P < .001).

After adjusting for factors that could affect risk of ADRD, compared with the lowest-fit group, the highest-fit and fit groups were 33% and 26% less likely to develop ADRD, respectively, while the moderate-fit and low-fit groups were 20% and 13% less likely to develop the disease, respectively,


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