Queen’s study says hormone involved in exercise could slow Alzheimer’s disease

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A Queen's University study found Alzheimer patients have less of the hormone irisin which has led them to create ways of boosting irisin in the brain – Jan 8, 2019

A study conducted at Queen’s University found that a hormone developed through exercise could slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Fernanda De Felice oversaw the study, which was co-authored by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro before it was published in Nature Medicine on Monday.

“What we found was Alzheimer patients have less of the hormone irisin,” De Felice said. She continued by saying, “this molecule is developed through exercise, and is responsible for the protective actions in our brain.”

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De Felice explained that irisin helps rescue disrupted synapses that allow for communication between brain cells and memory formation.

She and her team have been researching irisin for nearly seven years and have tested their theory on mice, which proved to be successful.

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“They [mice] had some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease including memory loss, but when we treated these animals with irisin, they pretty much act normally and are able to remember,” De Felice said.

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According to De Felice, this ground-breaking discovery is important for humankind because curing dementia and Alzheimer’s is one of the greatest current and future health care challenges.

De Felice says daily exercise is not only required to lessen the chances of Alzheimer’s for seniors, but for people of all ages.

When Kingstonians were told about the recent study and asked whether they would consider increasing their workouts, or live a more active lifestyle, each person agreed that they would take the necessary steps to prevent the disease.

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De Felice is currently working on ways to condense irisin into pill form to boost the brain with the molecule, and she is hoping the tests in mice will bode well for humans.

“We need to first do tests on humans before we can think this is a viable treatment for the disease,” De Felice said.

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There is no timeline for when her team will begin testing on humans.

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