Woodbridge home care providers know that staying in physical shape requires continually engaging in exercise or other activities. The same holds true concerning cognitive function. Researchers from Iowa State University recently discovered that individuals who actively exercise their brains increase the presence of a protein that protects neurons. The scientists also learned that the quantity of the substance has a direct correlation with the level of brain function.
The neural protein the researchers studied is known as neuronal pentraxin-2 or NPTX2. Through their studies, the group found that individuals who had normal memory and brain volume also had higher levels of the protein. On the other hand, people suffering reduced memory and diminished brain capacity had lower levels of NPTX2. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that the substance provided protective qualities in terms of neurons and brain function. The quantity of NPTX2 found in the brain allows researchers to evaluate the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s over time. Another protein called Chitinase-3-like-protein-1 or C3LP1 also serves as an indicator of cognitive disease.
Gauging Brain Function
The study involved 285 seniors who were all evaluated for cognitive function in the beginning and again at six months, 12 months and 24 months. During their initial assessment, scientists learned that 86 of the volunteers had healthy brain function. Mild impairment was found in 135 of the seniors, and 64 had definite signs of Alzheimer’s.
Imaging studies revealed the health of the temporal lobes, which are the areas that first show symptoms of cognitive decline and memory loss. The presence of C3LP1 capably predicted temporal lobe atrophy but not memory loss. However, the amount of NPTX2 indicated memory loss 56 percent of the time and brain volume decline 29 percent of the time.
Researchers strive to understand if there are ways to boost the quantities of the proteins. They believe that education plays a role. Volunteers who had higher levels of education also demonstrated the highest levels of the protein. The same was true in study participants who regularly engaged in complex tasks and had active social lives.
If these findings are conclusive, it means that seniors can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by remaining cognitively stimulated. Home Care Assistance provides flexible hourly and live-in home care in Woodbridge that keeps our clients mentally and emotionally stimulated with daily activities and socialization. Additionally, our reliable caregivers help with other aspects of daily life such as housekeeping and medication reminders. Call 203-444-8575 to learn more about our services and set up a no-obligation consultation today.