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Moderate to intense exercise keeps brain healthy

June 9, 2011 - Washington

A new study has revealed that older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop the small brain lesions, sometimes referred to as 'silent strokes'.

The study involved 1,238 people who had never had a stroke. Participants completed a questionnaire about how often and how intensely they exercised at the beginning of the study and then had MRI scans of their brains, an average of six years later, when they were an average of 70 years old.

A total of 43 percent of the participants reported that they had no regular exercise; 36 percent engaged in regular light exercise, and 21 percent engaged in regular moderate to intense exercise.

The brain scans showed that 197 of the participants, or 16 per cent, had small brain lesions, or infarcts, called silent strokes.

People who engaged in moderate to intense exercise were 40 percent less likely to have the silent strokes than people who did no regular exercise.

The results also remained the same after the researchers took into account other vascular risk factors such as high Blood Pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

However, there was no difference between those who engaged in light exercise and those who did not exercise.

The study was published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.


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