Exercise-induced hormone may protect against Alzheimer’s.

Exercise-induced hormone may protect against Alzheimer's.

The Potential of Exercise-Induced Hormone in Treating Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Therapies based on a hormone people produce while exercising may hold the key to treating Alzheimer’s disease, reveals a recent study. This groundbreaking research suggests that the exercise-induced hormone irisin could effectively reduce both the plaque and tau tangles characteristic of the disease.

Previously, the same team of researchers developed the first-ever 3D human cell culture models of Alzheimer’s disease. This advanced methodology allowed them to delve deeper into understanding the impact of irisin on amyloid beta, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s.

While physical exercise had already shown promise in reducing amyloid beta deposits in mouse models of Alzheimer’s, the underlying mechanism remained unclear. The researchers discovered that the increase in circulating levels of irisin, a muscle-derived hormone, through exercise, regulates glucose and lipid metabolism in fat tissue. Additionally, irisin accelerates the browning of white fat tissue, leading to increased energy expenditure.

Studies have already demonstrated the presence of irisin in both human and mouse brains, with lower levels detected in Alzheimer’s patients. The groundbreaking research conducted by the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston further demonstrated the positive effects of irisin on reducing amyloid beta pathology.

Lead study author Se Hoon Choi explained, “First, we found that irisin treatment led to a remarkable reduction of amyloid beta pathology. Second, we showed this effect of irisin was attributable to increased neprilysin activity, owing to increased levels of neprilysin secreted from cells in the brain called astrocytes.” Neprilysin, an enzyme responsible for degrading amyloid beta, was found to have elevated levels in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s exposed to exercise or other conditions leading to reduced amyloid beta.

The researchers went a step further and identified the process that triggers cells to increase neprilysin levels. They discovered that irisin injected into the bloodstream of mice can make its way into the brain, suggesting its potential therapeutic application.

Rudolph Tanzi, a senior author of the study and director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, emphasized, “Our findings indicate that irisin is a major mediator of exercise-induced increases in neprilysin levels, leading to reduced amyloid beta burden, suggesting a new target pathway for therapies aimed at the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”

These groundbreaking findings were reported in the prestigious journal Neuron on September 8, 2023. The potential of utilizing exercise-induced hormone therapy, specifically irisin, marks an exciting development in the field of Alzheimer’s research. It offers a promising avenue for the prevention and treatment of this devastating disease.

Stages of Dementia

The Stages of Dementia: Alzheimer’s Disease and Aging Brains

A Visual Journey through the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is a complex condition, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common form. It affects millions of individuals worldwide and has a profound impact on their daily lives. Understanding the stages of dementia can help individuals, caregivers, and healthcare professionals navigate this challenging journey more effectively.

  1. Stage 1: No Impairment
    • No noticeable memory loss or cognitive decline.
    • Individuals function independently and typically show no signs of dementia.
  2. Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
    • Memory lapses, such as forgetting familiar names or misplacing objects.
    • Symptoms often associated with normal aging.
    • Still able to function independently with minimal impact on daily life.
  3. Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline
    • Friends and family start noticing cognitive deficits.
    • Difficulty finding the right words or remembering names.
    • Challenges with planning and organizing.
    • Increased forgetfulness and losing personal belongings.
    • Performance decline in work or social settings.
  4. Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline
    • Clear cognitive impairments.
    • Difficulty performing complex tasks independently.
    • Memory loss more pronounced, including past events or personal history.
    • Poor concentration and reduced problem-solving abilities.
    • Withdrawal from social activities due to cognitive challenges.
  5. Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
    • Memory and cognitive deficits significantly impact daily functioning.
    • Assistance required with activities of daily living (ADLs).
    • Difficulty remembering important personal details, including address or phone number.
    • Confusion about time and place.
    • Inability to manage personal finances or navigate unfamiliar environments.
  6. Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline
    • Memory loss worsens, with limited recollection of recent events or current surroundings.
    • Requires substantial assistance with ADLs.
    • Personality changes, including irritability and agitation.
    • Incontinence may develop.
    • Loss of awareness of one’s own surroundings and personal history.
  7. Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
    • In the final stage, individuals lose the ability to communicate coherently or speak.
    • Requires 24/7 care and assistance for all tasks.
    • Total functional dependence on caregivers.
    • Limited motor abilities, often confined to a bed or wheelchair.
    • Susceptible to infections and other health complications.
Alzheimer’s Conclusion

As we embark on this important journey to understand and combat Alzheimer’s disease, the potential of exercise-induced hormone therapy brings renewed hope. These innovative findings pave the way for novel treatments that could potentially slow down or even prevent the progression of this devastating disease.

While more research is needed to fully explore the therapeutic potential of irisin, this breakthrough represents a significant step forward. It highlights how exercise, a simple and accessible activity, holds immense power not only for physical health but also for maintaining cognitive well-being.

As we eagerly await further developments, let us encourage individuals of all ages to embrace an active lifestyle that not only benefits their physical fitness but also nurtures their brain health. Together, we can strive for a future where Alzheimer’s disease is no longer a source of fear and despair, but a challenge we have successfully overcome.