University Receives Grant to Study Delay of Alzheimer’s through Exercise
Physical exercise provides training to promote stamina and strength, helps reduce high blood pressure, and makes it easier to deal with stress. The University of North Carolina in Greensboro (UNCG) is conducting a program to see if exercise will delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The name of the program is The PAAD Study: Physical Activity and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Although Alzheimer’s is not limited to senior citizens, it is traditionally associated with the elderly. Medication can help lessen or delay the symptoms but doesn’t provide a cure. The disease often lingers for years before it worsens but, in some cases, it progresses at a faster rate.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded UNCG a grant of $350,000 for cognitive research.
Sixty participants, each with a family history of Alzheimer’s, are to be between the ages of 50 to 65 years old. They will be given a cheek swab to see if they carry the gene for Alzheimer’s, but they will not be told of the results. For eight months, they will have three days a week of walking and strength training with resistance bands. Throughout this time, researchers will be monitoring cognitive performance. Some of the tests will include memory tests of figures and words.
The research project is timely for several reasons: President Obama recently announced that he wants to devote $100 million towards research on brain disorders including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and autism. North Carolina currently has more than 170,000 senior citizens with some type of dementia. The Division of Aging and Adult Services projects by the year 2030 this number will double. Some of the costs of caring for someone affected by Alzheimer’s include medical bills, prescriptions, and nursing homes. If UNCG’s research project can establish a link between exercise and delaying the onset for even six months, then it would prove that not only expenses associated with the disease can be reduced, but it would have a tremendous impact on the general public’s understanding of this illness.
The next eight-month session will begin September 23, 2013. The university is looking for a total of sixty participants. So far, thirty have signed up. The program stipulates that the volunteers must live in the Greensboro area for a year. Dr. Jenny Etnier, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at UNCG, is in charge of the program. For anyone interested in participating, more information is available on the Department of Kinesiology webpage that is part of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro website.
Sources / Supporting Links / Works Cited (If none, please type “none”): “Researcher Say Exercise Could Delay the Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease,” by Keri Brown, April 5, 2013; University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Kinesiology webpage
Written By: Cynthia Collins