“The benefits were visible with even more modest physical activity, but more remarkable were about 8,900 steps, slightly less than the 10,000 steps many of us want to take every day,” said Reisa Sperling, MD co-author, director of the Alzheimer’s Center for Research and Treatment, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts City Hospital, and co-owner of Brain’s research department at Harvard. “One of the most striking results of our research is that the increase in physical activity appears to have a positive impact not only on reducing cognitive decline, but also on reducing brain tissue loss in normal people, who over time have a high percentage of amyloid plaque in the brain,” said Jasmir Chatwal, MD, PhD, MSH Department of Neurology, and the respective author of the research. The HGM study is one of the first to demonstrate the protective effects of physical activity and vascular risk management in the “pre-clinical” phase of Alzheimer’s disease, allowing the intervention to take place before significant neuronal losses and clinical impairment occur. A Harvard study of brain aging in the IPH assessed the physical activity of participants – 182 normal elderly people, including those with high levels of bamyloids, who were classified as having a high risk of cognitive decline, using hip pedometers that counted the number of steps taken during the day. In an article published in JAMA neurology, the group also reported that reducing vascular risk factors may provide additional protection against Alzheimer’s disease and slow the progression of this devastating disease. Through ongoing research, the IPH tries to characterize other forms of physical activity and lifestyle changes that may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “Beta-amyloid and tau-protein formation certainly creates the conditions for cognitive impairment in future life, but we must not forget that we can now take steps to reduce future risks, even for those who have collected these proteins, says Chhatwal. “Given that there is currently no treatment that changes Alzheimer’s disease, there is an urgent need to identify risk factors that can slow the development of the disease,” said Chhatwal. Interventionist approaches that focus on vascular risk factors and physical activity have other positive characteristics,” “he” added, “because they work independently of each other. The IHI conducts the country’s largest hospital research program, with an annual budget of more than $925 million and more than $8,500 by researchers working in more than 30 institutes, centers and departments. EurekAlert provides authorized information agents with paid access to a reliable press release distribution system. Other co-authors are Jennifer Rabin, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, MSH; Keith Johnson, MD, Department of Neurology, MSH; and Hannah Klein, BSc, Department of Neurology, MSH.