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Stairlift users could benefit from protein supplement

23rd October 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has suggested that artificially adding a protein normally produced during exercise to a non-exercising person could help to preserve brain health and boost the growth of new nerves. This news could particularly benefit users of stairlifts who have mobility difficulties and are concerned about Alzheimer's or Parkinson's.

The research project, which was led by Dr Bruce Spiegelman, was based on the results of a previous study that demonstrated that exercise improves brain function. Although this information can help active older people who are at risk of developing dementia, it still presents a problem for those who rely on indoor stairlifts and other mobility aids, as their difficulties will make it hard to find a form of exercise that suits them. Thanks to this latest research, however, the positive effects of exercise on the brain could now be felt by those who find it hard to exercise.

A previous study by Dr Spiegelman found that the protein FNDC5 was released into the bloodstream following muscle exertion, and in his latest study he found that mice that voluntarily ran on an exercise wheel for a month increased the effect of a regulatory metabolic compound that boosts production of FNDC5, which in turn activates genes increasing the amount of BDNF produced. This protein protects the learning and memory part of the brain.

These results have the potential for a drug to be developed and Dr Spiegelman said, "What is exciting is that a natural substance can be given in the bloodstream that can mimic some of the effects of endurance exercise on the brain." He does go on to say that more studies need to be carried out on mice to ensure that actually administering a variant of FNDC5 artificially would have a positive effect on the brain, however it certainly presents some progress for those who use chairs for the elderly and other mobility aids frequently and are looking for ways to improve brain function.

Click here to read more about the study, as reported by Medical News Today.

Image Credit: jimmyharris (flickr.com)