The incidence of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Parkinson’s Disease (PD) have not only been on the rise during the past two decades, but they are fast emerging as large-scale killer diseases, from their earlier status as only debilitating conditions. They are also occurring much earlier in life, starting from the 40s or 50s, rather than the 60s and 70s.
This week in medical research, two new promising discoveries have been made against each of these new-age killers. Close on heels of researchers finding out the best kind of exercise for preventing and controlling diabetes, a new research by Brazilian scientists has discovered the best kind of exercise for preventing or delaying Alzheimer’s.
Published recently in the noted journal ‘Frontiers in Neuroscience’, this study found that resistance training has superior efficacy in preventing or delaying this most common kind of dementia, compared with other forms of exercise. This is certainly a breakthrough in AD research, as the conventional advice given was to focus on aerobic activities like walking.
This may also prove to be a perfect fit for middle-aged and senior persons, who have the highest risk for developing AD, as many of them can’t do the kind of moderate to intense aerobic activities that should be sustained for half an hour to one hour daily. Instead they can use light weights like dumbbells or even body weight exercises like planks to include resistance training into their exercise regimen.
While describing this advantage of resistance training, the researchers also called attention to the fact that resistance training appeared to mediate this beneficial effect by reducing systemic inflammation including in the brain. It was found that resistance exercise slowed down the formation of inflammation-linked beta amyloid plaques in the brain that is implicated in AD.
This breakthrough research highlights the need to personalise lifestyle modifications like exercise. Today, true personalisation based on geno-metabolic factors is available in solutions like EPLIMO, that offer not only personalised exercises, but personalised diets, personalised supplements, personalised yoga, personalised meditation etc based on each person’s hard coded disease risks in the genes. Such a comprehensive solution that fights inflammation systemically can be a way better option than only personalising the exercise part.
In a second and unconnected research study that came out this week, researchers at UK Dementia Research Institute of Cardiff University found that accelerometers found in almost all smartwatches these days can detect the risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease even up to 7 years before it actually happens. This study was recently published in the renowned journal, ‘Nature’.
This predictive power is made possible by tracking even minute movements via accelerometers throughout the day, as Parkinson’s is characterised by tremors which show up minutely much before the disease manifests in full blown impact and thus readily diagnosed. As treatment options are limited once PD is fully developed, this innovation holds much promise.
However, geno-metabolic solutions like EPLIMO holds a greater promise as it can detect the risks for developing PD much earlier than 7 years, as it looks for both inherited genetic risks that are right there from birth and metabolic risks that may develop over time. Hence, a person with a potential risk for PD can undertake personalised and defensive lifestyle modifications much earlier, improving the odds of keeping this progressive neuropathology at bay.
While a real world solution that uses wearable accelerometers may still be a few years away, smartwatches and other such fitness trackers are already helping people defend themselves against such killer lifestyle diseases in more ways than one. One powerful example of this new trend is Limoverse HealthFi that uses NFT Sneakers and smartwatch based calorie counters or GPS trackers to reward users with crypto tokens into their wallets every time they exercise, to keep them motivated.