No one needs another reason to exercise, but according to a January 7th New Scientist article, it may protect you from the effects of Alzheimer’s. When you exercise, your muscles create a hormone called irisin that is carried throughout the body via the bloodstream. Scientists at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro discovered that people with Alzheimer’s had low levels of irisin compared to health individuals.
Through a series of tests with mice, they found that they could decrease learning and memory by cutting out irisin. The effects were then reversed after restoring levels of the hormone. It’s common knowledge that physical activity is associated with brain health as age progresses, but this finding links an actual biological mechanism to the effect and could lead to drugs designed to target the hormone to combat Alzheimer’s.