1) Exciting results of Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) exercise study shows participating in 6 months of aerobic exercise reduced CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) levels of abnormal Tau in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Abnormal Tau is one of two abnormal proteins that define Alzheimer’s pathology. Previous studies by the same group showed exercise improved the other abnormal protein, amyloid beta.  Many cases of MCI of the amnestic type progress to full blown Alzheimer’s dementia.  Thus the study shows exercise can slow progression of early stages of cognitive decline from Alzheimer’s pathology.
NO DRUG Currently on the Market CAN DO THIS.

In addition, aerobic exercise significantly increased blood flow in the memory and processing centers of participant’s brains, with a corresponding improvement in attention, planning, and organizing abilities referred to as “executive function”.

Studies by other researchers, mostly in lab animals, have shown that exercise is a key factor in neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, especially in the hippocampus, the site of short term memory and where Alzheimer’s pathology often begins.

Lead author Laura Baker of Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, NC, voiced the clinical significance of these findings: “These findings are important because they strongly suggest a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain,” Baker said. “No currently approved medication can rival these effects.”

Laura Baker, PhD, et al. Aerobic Exercise Reduces Phosphorylated Tau Protein Cerebrospinal Fluid in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).   READ the AAIC2015 Abstract below

Aerobic Exercise Reduces Phosphorylated Tau Protein in


Laura D. Baker Ph.D. 

Cerebrospinal Fluid in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

Authors: Laura D Baker, PhD; Jeannine S Skinner, PhD; Suzanne Craft, PhD; Kaycee M. Sink, MD, MAS; Thomas Montine, MD, PhD; Angela Hansen, MD; Valerie M Wilson, MD; Youngkyoo Jung, PhD; Megan Johnston, PhD; Brenna Cholerton, PhD and Maureen Callaghan, MD. , of Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC.

Abstract: Background: We have shown that in older adults with mild cognitive impairment, aerobic exercise has favorable effects on executive function and plasma beta amyloid, a biomarker linked to Alzheimer’s disease pathology. These and similar findings by other investigators suggest that aerobic exercise may be a disease-modifying intervention for adults in the earliest stages of the disease. High tau protein levels in the brain predict rate of progression to Alzheimer’s dementia; thus, identifying interventions that can successfully reduce tau levels is a priority in clinical treatment trials.

Methods: We enrolled 65 sedentary older adults (age: 55-89yrs) with amnestic MCI and prediabetes, as per American Diabetes Association hemoglobin A1c criteria given the added dementia risk conferred by early glucometabolic disease. Participants were randomized to an aerobic training or a stretching control group, and completed structured exercise under the supervision of a trainer for 45-60min, 4 times/week for 6 months using community facilities. The aerobic group exercised at 70-80% of heart rate reserve (HRR), while the stretching group exercised at an intensity below 35% HRR. At baseline and month 6, participants completed cognitive testing (verbal recall, tests of executive function), a 400m timed walk test, glucose tolerance test, body fat assessment, and blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collection. Forty participants also received structural and functional brain MRI. ANCOVA models were used with adjustments for age and education.

Results: Adherence to the intervention protocols was 92%, and aerobic exercise improved walk times and glucose tolerance relative to the control group (p<0.05). Six months of structured moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise reduced CSF levels of phosphorylated and total tau protein, particularly for adults over the age of 70 years (p<0.05). We also report exercise-induced increases in blood flow in the right anteromedial temporal lobe region (p<0.05), and favorable effects on a composite measure of executive function (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Six months of aerobic exercise is sufficient to favorably move tau protein levels in older adults at high risk of progression to dementia. These findings provide important evidence to support a disease-modifying effect and thus high therapeutic relevance of a readily accessible nonpharmacological intervention for adults with MCI.



This landmark study was accompanied by two other clinical trials with significant results with two other populations.

2) 4 months of exercise reduced psychiatric symptoms in people with AD and improved physical fitness as well. Those who exercised most regularly and vigorously also improved their mental speed and attention. People who participated in the exercise program had far fewer neuropsychiatric symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, and depression). Those in the control group had deteriorated on measures of psychiatric symptoms, while the intervention group improved slightly. This lead to a statistically significant difference between the two groups. (p=.002) In addition, people with Alzheimers in a subgroup of the exercise group who attended more than 80% of the classes and exercised vigorously (raising their heart rate to more than 70% of their maximal rate) had statistically significant (p=0.03) improvements on mental speed and attention, as measured by the SDMT.

Steen Hasselbalch, MD, et al. Moderate to High Intensity Physical Exercise in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. (Funder: Innovation Fund Denmark) Steen Hasselbalch, MD, and colleagues from the Danish Dementia Research Centre (DDRC), Copenhagen, Denmark reported results from the Danish ADEX Study, the first large, controlled trial of moderate to high intensity exercise in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s in Denmark.

3) The third study reported that a 6 month randomized controlled trial (RCT) of aerobic exercise people with mild cognitive impairment from vascular (VCI) improved cognition. Sixty-two of the 71 participants completed the full six-month study. The researchers found that study participants who took the aerobics classes significantly (p<0.05) improved their cognitive function, including memory and selective attention, compared to the people receiving usual care.

Teresa Liu -Ambrose, PhD, PT, et al. Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Aerobic Exercise: A 6 -Month Randomized Control led Trial. (Funders: Canadian Stroke Network, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada)


 1) Six months is more likely to show measureable clinically significant cognitive and biological results than a 4 month study. To gain continue benefits, exercise needs to continue.

2)                 Vigorous aerobic exercise, getting heart rate up to 70-80% of maximum, appears to be necessary to produce desired biological and cognitive results.

3)                 Aerobic exercise can also produce beneficial mood and psychiatric results.

4)                 Aerobic exercise can benefit people with both AD type pathology (abnormal proteins beta-amyloid and p-tau) as well as vascular pathology. This is important since many people who develop full blown dementia have both pathologies.
The Alzheimer’s Association introduced a press release about these studies headlined as GOING BEYOND RISK REDUCTION: PHYSICAL EXERCISE MAY BE AN EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND VASCULAR DEMENTIA. Results of Three New Trials Reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2015 May Help People Live Better with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia
with this statement:

WASHINGTON, DC, July 23, 2015– Positive results of three new randomized controlled trials of aerobic exercise in Alzheimer’s disease, vascular cognitive impairment (VCI) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) were reported today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® 2015 (AAIC® 2015) in Washington, D.C. They provide hope there may soon be a tool that people with dementia can use to prolong their independence and improve their quality of life.


The Alzheimer’s Association on June 1 announced launching a brain healthy lifestyle campaign given the latest research results  and the urgent public health needs to reduce the incidence and severity of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Healthy Lifestyles Help Protect Our Brains   See 10 Ways to Love Your Brain

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