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Study Reveals Stronger Muscles Lead to Better Brain Function

Ethan Huff

jack-lalaneA recent study published in the November 2009 issue of Archives of Neurology revealed that the greater muscle strength a person has, the more likely he or she is to maintain proper cognitive function over time. The study examined 970 men and women and found that those individuals who ranked in the top ten percent for muscle strength were 61 percent less likely to develop progressive cognitive degeneration when compared to those in the bottom ten percent.

Dr. Patricia Boyle, the author of the study, and her research colleagues from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined men and women between the ages of 54 and 100, testing their strength in nine different muscle categories. The study patients were followed for a period of four years in which their cognitive capabilities were examined along the way. The stronger patients were found to have maintained the best brain function.

The research team performed a similar study back in June that investigated the link between motor decline and participation in social activities. The report revealed a significant increase in cognitive degeneration among those who participated the least in social activities.

According to Aron S. Buchman, MD, from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and department of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center, each point of decrease on the social activity scale used in the study was the equivalent of a person being five years older at the study's baseline. In other words, increased social activity plays an enormous role in prolonging functional motor skills and vice versa.

Among all the studies performed on the subject, researchers have clearly found that physical exercise, cognitive activity, and social participation all contribute to healthy brain function. Rather than rely on medication, Dr. Buchman recommends a multidisciplinary approach to help aging people retain strong mental health.

Improved brain function can also be achieved by ensuring the body receives the necessary nutrients for such a task. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA), sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant”, is a necessary compound that converts energy from food and mitochondria for use throughout the body. Acetyl L-carnitine (ALC) works to transport fat through cell membranes into cell mitochondria where it produces cellular energy through oxidation. Together, these nutrients work wonders to promote a strong memory and a vibrant nervous system.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is another valuable nutrient that fortifies and protects the integrity of cell membranes by defending them against age-associated degeneration. It has been proven in published research to improve cognitive neural function and memory.


Declining Muscle Strength Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

Social Activity in Late Life Associated with Better Motor Function