Their Alzheimer's Disease Didn't Worsen. Why?

February 3, 2023

— Case reports find one healthy habit in common

Devangere P. Devanand, MD
Devangere P. Devanand, MD

Sustained vigorous exercise might have slowed disease progression in two patients with positive Alzheimer's biomarkers and mild cognitive impairment, two case reports suggested.

At age 64, patient 1 was diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. More than 15 years later, at age 80, he had minimal cognitive and functional decline and was diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's disease.

Patient 2 was diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment at age 72. At age 80, he showed no clinical progression.

Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) declines averaged 0.3 points per year for patient 1 and 0.125 points per year for patient 2, compared with the average 2-point MMSE annual decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.

Why the "strikingly benign, atypical clinical course"?

Of all the possible contributors, intense physical activity was the likely disease-modifying factor, Davangere Devanand, MD, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, and co-authors wrote in Alzheimer's & Dementia opens in a new tab or window.

Both patients regularly exercised vigorously for hours a day and increased their participation after they either retired or reduced their work hours.

"We know that mild to moderate exercise is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, but the effects of vigorous, regular exercise have been poorly studied," Devanand told MedPage Today. [read more]

Source: MedPage Today