Today’s Headlines: Alzheimer’s, Stress, and Weight Loss

You can slow down and improve Alzheimer’s symptoms by exercising. A new study has found that exercising on a regular basis can not only prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, but can also be used as a treatment for current patients that suffer from the disease. “Regular aerobic exercise could be a fountain of youth for the brain,” said one of the study leads Laura Baker from the Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Over the six months of the study, the researchers tested verbal recall, decision-making, looked at spinal fluid and blood, and did MRI brain scans…Exercisers had better blood flow in the memory and processing centers of their brains and had measurable improvement in attention, planning, and organizing abilities referred to as executive function.” After significant amounts of physical activity the levels of tau—which is the protein linked to Alzheimer’s—decreased in those in the study. At this time there is no medication that is proven to have better effects then the exercise study. (NBC)

Your stress levels make you less likely to make healthy food choices. While it may seem obvious that stress levels will increase your desire for comfort foods and junk food snacks, there is finally science to explain why, and it all has to do with our brain. “Study volunteers who endured a somewhat stressful experience were 24% more likely to choose unhealthful snacks afterward compared with volunteers who hadn’t experienced stress. And researchers think they know why: Brain scans showed that the stressed people had altered neurological connectivity between regions of the brain that process tastiness, make value judgments and plan for long-term goals…There’s not just one region or node [of the brain] that turns on and off to establish self-control; they have to all sync up and work in unison. Stress disrupts that synchrony.” Do yourself and your body a favor and take some time to relax to benefit your health in more ways than one. Additionally, if you want to lose weight, it’s best to start off your diet by relaxing—chances are your food cravings will diminish significantly. (LA Times)

If you walk to work instead of drive, you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. Swapping out your morning drive for public transportation, walking, or biking will help your body in the long run. “The longer the commute, the greater the weight loss: People with one-way active commutes longer than 30 minutes lost more than 15 pounds on average over two years…Another study of 12,000 people in U.S. metro areas published in July in the online journal PLOS One found a robust association between biking or walking to work and lower body-mass index. Researchers say active commuting holds promise to help people keep weight off once they lose it, which is particularly striking as most people who diet eventually regain the pounds.” While the weather is still nice out, get fit by taking alternate transport to work. (Fox)