Through the power of DanCE, we can change the Face of Alzheimer’s
17th Jul

2014

Alzheimer’s Fights Zeroes, In on Preventive Treatments

The 2014 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, 7/12-17, released several studies on Alzheimer’s and memory loss.  One in particular is the trial conducted in Finland and known as Finger (1), randomly assigned 1260 people ages 60-77.  Some went to a control group and were given basic health advice.  Others underwent an intervention that incorporated diet, exercise, cognitive training, social activities and control of physical risk like high blood pressure and cholesterol.

After two years, those in the intervention group had significantly improved performance on different memory measures compared with the control group that were given basic health advice.  The participants of the study will be followed for another 7 years.

The Finger study contradicts a meeting convened in 2009 by the National Institute of Health by an independent review committee, found no compelling evidence to show that Alzheimer’s could be prevented with lifestyle changes.

However, prevention programs are receiving more attention and financial backing in the field because of growing recommendations in recent years that disease-related changes in the brain begin decades before memory problems become obvious, and therefore, drug therapy may not be able to address.  In that regard, several animal studies suggest that administering treatment earlier in the disease could be helpful, according to National Institute on Aging.  Treating people once the symptoms begin may be too late to make a major impact on the disease, as demonstrated by the failure of several highly anticipated experimental drug treatments in recent years.

The goal of these types of studies is to be able to offer better guidance about lifestyle activities to reduce the frequency and severity of Alzheimer’s, which makes the Dance for Cognitive Enhancement (DanCE) research even more relevant.

And here’s why?

By a wide margin, the people who danced often in the 2003 Leisure study (2), had a significantly lower chance of experiencing Alzheimer’s and related forms of memory decline than the other 10 physical activities that were evaluated.  While the research did not single out any particular dance style, it did recognize that fully one third of the people in the study danced socially.

Thus, ballroom dancing (BD) could prove to be the best protection against dementia. Combine BD with  lifestyle changes, may be the right antidote for Alzheimer’s and other aspects of aging, like adult falls and mental health.
 

Reference

1.  Wang S.  2014.  Alzheimer’s Fight Zeroes, In on Preventive Treatments.  Wall Street Journal.  Pages D1-2.

2.  Verghese J. 2003.  Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly.  New England Journal of Medicine.

 

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