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KU Alzheimer’s Disease Center receives over $1 million for research

(WOWT)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 1:37 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center has received over $1 million to research how exercise could prevent Alzheimer’s.

Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center has gotten over $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to research how exercise supports memory and thinking as humans age to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. He said studies show that exercise can slow and prevent the disease and other forms of dementia by stimulating the brain to keep current connections and make new ones.

“We have always known that exercise does a body good, but research has begun to show us just how beneficial physical activity is to our minds as well,” said Senator Marshall. “As a physician, I always promoted physical activity and as a member of Congress, I have prioritized research and innovation to find solutions to our most common problems and illnesses. Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that claims far too many lives each year. I applaud my alma mater, the University of Kansas, and all researchers for their continued work to defeat this disease.”

According to Sen. Marshall, the project is funded by the National Institute on Aging and will look into how exercise supports memory and thinking, especially as people age. Specifically, he said the Center will enroll 280 people, age 65 to 80, without memory or thinking changes, in a 52-week exercise intervention to test the effects of endurance and resistance training on memory and thinking, brain structure and physical function.

Marshall said the researchers note the number of older Americans will double in the next 40 years to almost 90 million, which will put an unprecedented financial and resource strain on healthcare systems. He said it is estimated that Alzheimer’s and other dementias will kill one in three seniors, which is more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. In addition to the emotional and physical toll it has, he said it costs over $305 billion and will triple over $1.1 trillion by 2050.

Overall, Marshall said the researchers want to show which types of exercise can benefit memory, so they encourage everyone to adopt a more active lifestyle and possibly reduce the risk of dementia. He said studies show that regular exercise increases blood and oxygen flow and helps brain cell health. In total, he said the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Cener got $1,375,262.

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