Cognitive function below age-matched controls is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is a biochemical molecule that mediates neuronal survival, but its expression is reduced in Alzheimer’s disease, causing neurodegeneration. Exercise has been shown to increase Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which mediates improvements in cognition in Alzheimer’s patients and slows cognitive decline. Evidence is presented to show that aerobic exercise is well known to increase serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, while resistance training studies have not yet shown a conclusive effect. Increased Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor from aerobic exercise has been shown to mediate improvements in hippocampal volume and executive function. No clinical guidelines have been developed for exercise to improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients, so clinicians are encouraged to follow the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines and include both aerobic and resistance training in exercise programs to achieve maximum cognitive benefits. Exercise prescription is especially important for those at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as they will greatly benefit from the protective effects of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor before converting and exercise adherence is increased in Alzheimer’s patients if they have found exercise they enjoy.
Cullen, Stephanie, "Effects of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Cognitive Benefits in Alzheimer’s Disease" (2017). 2017 Undergraduate Awards. 21.