Study Shows Aerobic Exercise Helps Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Gisele Galoustini wrote . . . . . . . . .

Increasing evidence shows that physical activity and exercise training may delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In aging humans, aerobic exercise training increases gray and white matter volume, enhances blood flow, and improves memory function. The ability to measure the effects of exercise on systemic biomarkers associated with risk for AD and relating them to key metabolomic alterations may further prevention, monitoring, and treatment efforts. However, systemic biomarkers that can measure exercise effects on brain function and that link to relevant metabolic responses are lacking.

To address this issue, Henriette van Praag, Ph.D., from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and Brain Institute and Ozioma Okonkwo, Ph.D., Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their collaborators, tested the hypotheses that three specific biomarkers, which are implicated in learning and memory, would increase in older adults following exercise training and correlate with cognition and metabolomics markers of brain health. They examined myokine Cathepsin B (CTSB), brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and klotho, as well as metabolomics, which have become increasingly utilized to understand biochemical pathways that may be affected by AD.

Researchers performed a metabolomics analysis in blood samples of 23 asymptomatic late middle-aged adults, with familial and genetic risk for AD (mean age 65 years old, 50 percent female) who participated in the “aeRobic Exercise And Cognitive Health (REACH) Pilot Study” (NCT02384993) at the University of Wisconsin. The participants were divided into two groups: usual physical activity (UPA) and enhanced physical activity (EPA). The EPA group underwent 26 weeks of supervised treadmill training. Blood samples for both groups were taken at baseline and after 26 weeks.

Results of the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology, showed that plasma CTSB levels were increased following this 26-week structured aerobic exercise training in older adults at risk for AD. Verbal learning and memory correlated positively with change in CTSB but was not related to BDNF or klotho. The present correlation between CTSB and verbal learning and memory suggests that CTSB may be useful as a marker for cognitive changes relevant to hippocampal function after exercise in a population at risk for dementia. Plasma BDNF levels decreased in conjunction with metabolomic changes, including reductions in ceramides, sphingo- and phospholipids, as well as changes in gut microbiome metabolites and redox homeostasis. Indeed, multiple lipid metabolites relevant to AD were modified by exercise in a manner that may be neuroprotective. Serum klotho was unchanged but was associated with cardiorespiratory fitness.

“Our findings position CTSB, BDNF, and klotho as exercise biomarkers for evaluating the effect of lifestyle interventions on brain function,” said van Praag, corresponding author, an associate professor of biomedical science, FAU’s Schmidt College of Medicine, and a member of the FAU Brain Institute and the FAU Institute for Human Health & Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH). “Human studies often utilize expensive and low throughput brain imaging analyses that are not practical for large population-wide studies. Systemic biomarkers that can measure the effect of exercise interventions on Alzheimer’s-related outcomes quickly and at low-cost could be used to inform disease progression and to develop novel therapeutic targets.”

CTSB, a lysosomal enzyme, is secreted from muscle into circulation after exercise and is associated with memory function and adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Older adults with cognitive impairment have lower serum and brain CTSB levels. BDNF is a protein that is upregulated in the rodent hippocampus and cortex by running and is important for adult neurogenesis, synaptic plasticity, and memory function. Klotho is a circulating protein that can enhance cognition and synaptic function and is associated with resilience to neurodegenerative disease, possibly by supporting brain structures responsible for memory and learning.

“The positive association between CTSB and cognition, and the substantial modulation of lipid metabolites implicated in dementia, support the beneficial effects of exercise training on brain function and brain health in asymptomatic individuals at risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” said van Praag.

Source: Florida Atlantic University

In Pictures: Breakfast Food Around the World (3)

Spam – Guam

Pasteis de nata – Portugal

Syrniki – Ukraine

Ackee – Jamaica

Scallion pancakes – Taiwan

Espresso – Italy

Pancakes – USA

Blinis with red and black caviar – Russia

New Disabilities Plague Half of COVID Survivors After Hospital Discharge

Amy Norton wrote . . . . . . . . .

People hospitalized for COVID-19 are often discharged in much worse shape than before their illness — underscoring the value of preventing severe cases with vaccination.

In a new study, researchers found that during the pandemic’s early months, almost half of COVID-19 patients discharged from their health system had some degree of “functional decline.”

That’s a broad category including people who needed further therapy for physical impairments, like muscle weakness and low fitness levels; assistance with walking or other daily activities; home oxygen; or speech therapy or special diets after being on a ventilator.

The researchers said it all highlights a vital point: Many people who survive severe COVID-19 still face a long recovery.

“Surviving is not the same as thriving,” said lead author Dr. Alecia Daunter. She is a rehabilitation specialist at the University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor.

A year-and-a-half into the pandemic, she noted, many people still believe that death is the only bad outcome of COVID-19.

Younger people, whose risk of death is low, can mistakenly think they have “nothing to worry about,” Daunter said.

Many studies have documented long-term consequences of COVID-19, including the phenomenon dubbed “long COVID,” which causes lingering problems like poor fitness levels, profound fatigue and “brain fog” — even after a mild infection.

And while COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, it can damage other organs, including the heart and brain.

Yet studies have not described the impact on hospitalized patients’ functioning, according to Daunter’s team.

So the researchers analyzed medical records from 288 COVID-19 patients discharged from their medical center between March and May 2020. Most patients — almost two-thirds — were able to go home, but 13% went to a rehabilitation or skilled nursing center for further care.

And close to half (45%) had some type of functional decline at the time of discharge, according to the report published online recently in PM&R: The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation.

One reason is that being sick in the hospital causes “deconditioning” — a decline in muscle strength and heart and breathing capacity that makes even daily routines difficult, Daunter said.

And people sick enough to land in the intensive care unit can leave with “post-ICU syndrome,” with issues ranging from deconditioning to impaired memory and thinking to post-traumatic stress, she explained.

Daunter stressed that patients in the study were not a uniformly elderly group: They ranged in age from 20 to 95, and were 66 years old, on average.

“We’re talking about a relatively young and healthy population,” she said.

All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are highly effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization, Daunter pointed out. It’s important for younger people to be aware they can land in the hospital — and suffer the after-effects, she said.

Long-term effects are not, however, limited to hospital patients, said Dr. Ruwanthi Titano, a cardiologist who treats patients at the Center for Post-COVID Care at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

In fact, Titano said, most patients at the center had milder COVID-19 cases treated at home.

Researchers are working to understand the causes of long COVID, whether, for instance, it stems from runaway inflammation or an autoimmune reaction, she said.

But patients do show signs of what’s called autonomic nervous system dysfunction, Titano explained: Their heart rate and blood pressure can “skyrocket” from something as basic as slow walking.

Initially, doctors told such patients to give their bodies time to recover, just like after a bad flu.

“And that wasn’t unreasonable,” Titano noted.

Over time, though, it’s become apparent that some COVID-19 patients have lasting problems. And a growing number of medical centers are opening COVID clinics like Mount Sinai’s.

It remains to be seen how patients will ultimately fair. At this point, Titano said, there has been some success with gradual exercise therapy, starting at a very mild intensity then slowly progressing.

While functional decline may not be life-threatening, it does take a toll on quality of life, Titano said, keeping people out of work and unable to fully “rejoin the world.”

Titano echoed Daunter on the prevention message.

“Get vaccinated,” Titano said. “We need to prevent infections and severe disease.”

Source: HealthDay

Poached Eggs in Aspic


4 poached eggs
2 cups store-bought or homemade aspic (see a recipe below)
4 tablespoons butter or margarine at room temperature
2 cup tuna fish in olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
2 anchovy fillets, desalted
canned pimiento


  1. Pour a little aspic, cool but still liquid, into 4 individual molds to form a 1/2-inch layer.
  2. When it is almost set, place in the center of each mold 1 cold poached egg.
  3. Whip the butter or margarine until foamy, mixing in the tuna fish, capers (reserving 4 for decoration) and anchovies, all worked through a sieve. Pipe the mixture in a border around the eggs, using a pastry bag fitted with a star nozzle.
  4. Decorate each with a small piece canned pimiento and top with reserved capers.
  5. Pour the remaining liquid aspic carefully into the molds, and let stand in the refrigerator until completely set.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Cook’s Book

Quick Aspic Recipe


3 cups double-strength clarified turkey or chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water


Heat the broth and wine to boiling point. Add the dissolved gelatin. Stir until melted. Cool.

Makes 3-1/4 cups

Store-bought Aspic

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