Latest
issue
GET HCM
magazine
Sign up for the FREE digital edition of HCM magazine and also get the HCM ezine and breaking news email alerts.
Not right now, thanksclose this window I've already subscribed!
Technogym
Technogym
Technogym
Follow Health Club Management on Twitter Like Health Club Management on Facebook Join the discussion with Health Club Management on LinkedIn Follow Health Club Management on Instagram
FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

Research round-up: Memory upgrade

A small trial suggests wellness interventions, including exercise, may help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s sufferers

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 1
The 36-point plan included daily exercise, as well as meditation and yoga / photo: www.shutterstock.com/PedroMatos
The 36-point plan included daily exercise, as well as meditation and yoga / photo: www.shutterstock.com/PedroMatos

Since it was first discovered more than 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease has been without an effective treatment. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and as the ageing population grows, so does the number of people with brain disorders. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that next year, 850,000 people in the UK alone will suffer from dementia, and this number is set to rise to 2 million by 2051.

However, the outlook may not be quite so depressing if the findings of a small US pilot study are anything to go by. Scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered that lifestyle and wellness interventions have reversed memory loss in patients with Alzheimer’s disease for the first time. Although the results are anecdotal, the findings are “very encouraging”, says study author and neurology professor Dr Dale Bredesen.

Individualised intervention
As part of the trial, a group of experts put together a 36-point plan for 10 patients with Alzheimer’s. The plans included daily exercise, meditation and yoga. They also followed a strict diet, in some cases including fasting, taking supplements and obtaining an optimal seven to eight hours’ sleep a night.

Each plan was personalised, based on extensive testing to determine what was affecting brain signals in each patient. Although the programmes were complex and difficult to follow – none of the participants were able to fully adhere to them – Bredesen believes a multiple-component approach is key. “The existing Alzheimer’s drug affects a single target, but the disease is more complex,” he says. “Imagine having a roof with 36 holes, and your drug patched one very well... You’d still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.”

Promising results
The results were promising, with nine out of 10 patients seeing improvements in three to six months. The only patient not to gain any benefit had been diagnosed with late-stage Alzheimer’s.

Such were the benefits for some participants that six people who’d been struggling at work, or who had to stop work due to cognitive issues, were able to return to their jobs. Those who stayed in employment showed improved performance. Bredesen adds: “It’s noteworthy that the major side-effects of this therapeutic system are improved health and BMI – a stark contrast to the side-effects of many drugs.”

Further research needed
Overall, the results suggest that memory loss may be reversed, and even improvements sustained, by following a therapeutic plan. Yet Bredesen cautions that further research is needed.

“The current, anecdotal results require a larger trial, not only to confirm or refute the results reported here, but also to address key questions raised, such as the degree of improvement that can be achieved routinely, how late in the course of cognitive decline reversal can be effected... and how long improvement can be sustained,” he explains.

Prior to these findings, other research studies have alluded to the benefits of exercise for cognitive function. Studies have found that physical activity can delay cognitive decline by as much as 10–15 years (see HCM Feb 10, p28); while short bursts of exercise can have an instant impact (see HCM Jan 13, p55).

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Should clubs own their members’ data or allow them to bring their own devices into the gym? / photo: www.shutterstock.com
Should clubs own their members’ data or allow them to bring their own devices into the gym? / photo: www.shutterstock.com
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/819790_77306.jpg
A small trial suggests wellness interventions, including exercise, can help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients
Katie Barnes,Alzheimer’s, memory loss, cognitive decline
HCM magazine
Basic-Fit – which has been scaling rapidly across Europe –  is considering franchising to ramp up growth further afield
HCM magazine
As health club operators move to incorporate recovery into their offerings to meet growing consumer demand, Steph Eaves takes a look at what cryotherapy and ice bathing can add to the equation
HCM magazine
New research has found BMI to be a highly inaccurate measure of childhood obesity, leading current thinking and policy based on it into question
HCM magazine
Go Fit’s value proposition is overwhelming. It makes us very attractive to a lot of people
HCM magazine
Now mental health is the number one reason for people to join a health club, do fitness professionals need a grounding in counselling to offer a more holistic service? Kath Hudson asks the experts
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The New Keiser M3i Studio Bike brings ride data to life to engage and delight members
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
The partnership between PureGym and Belfast-based supplier BLK BOX is transforming the gym floor
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Operators, prepare to revolutionise the way members connect with personal trainers in your club, with the ground-breaking Brawn platform.
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Francesca Cooper-Boden says health assessment services can boost health club retention
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
University of Sheffield Sport has opened the doors of its flagship Goodwin Sports Centre following a major refurbishment
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
D2F had updated its brand styling to keep pace with business growth. MD, John Lofting and operations director, Matt Aynsley, explain the rationale
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Nuffield Health has worked with ServiceSport UK for more than ten years, ensuring the equipment in its clubs is commercially optimised
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
GymNation is pioneering the future of fitness with software specialist Perfect Gym providing a scalable tech platform to power and sustain its growth
HCM promotional features
Sponsored
Epassi, a provider of workplace wellness benefits, is creating a fitter and more productive workforce, one membership at a time 
HCM promotional features
Latest News
With the launch of its 49th John Reed, RSG Group is looking for more opportunities ...
Latest News
PureGym saw revenues rise by 15 per cent in 2023, with the company announcing plans ...
Latest News
Following three disrupted lockdown years, the European fitness market bounced back in 2023, according to ...
Latest News
Charitable trust, Mytime Active, has removed all single-use plastic overshoes from its swimming pools and ...
Latest News
Community Leisure UK is helping the drive to Net Zero with the launch of a ...
Latest News
Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing ...
Latest News
Norwegian health club operator, Treningshelse Holding, which owns the Aktiv365 and Family Sports Club fitness ...
Latest News
The HCM team were busy at the recent FIBO Global Fitness event in Cologne, Germany, ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Study Active acquires Premier Global name and select branding assets
Study Active has legally acquired the name “Premier Global” and select Premier Global branding assets from Assessment Technologies Institute LLC, part of Ascend Learning in the US.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Company profiles
Company profile: Power Plate
Power Plate is owned, manufactured and distributed by Northbrook, Ill.- based Performance Health Systems LLC, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: We Work Well Inc
We Work Well is a global premier hosted buyer event company, connecting high-level executives from ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media launches ‘livegood' wellness channel to deliver in-club entertainment on consoles and screens
Zoom Media, a leading provider of digital media solutions for health clubs, has launched a proprietary wellness content channel called Livegood – a digital hub of health and wellness media.
Featured press releases
Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Directory
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

Research round-up: Memory upgrade

A small trial suggests wellness interventions, including exercise, may help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s sufferers

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 1
The 36-point plan included daily exercise, as well as meditation and yoga / photo: www.shutterstock.com/PedroMatos
The 36-point plan included daily exercise, as well as meditation and yoga / photo: www.shutterstock.com/PedroMatos

Since it was first discovered more than 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease has been without an effective treatment. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, and as the ageing population grows, so does the number of people with brain disorders. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that next year, 850,000 people in the UK alone will suffer from dementia, and this number is set to rise to 2 million by 2051.

However, the outlook may not be quite so depressing if the findings of a small US pilot study are anything to go by. Scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered that lifestyle and wellness interventions have reversed memory loss in patients with Alzheimer’s disease for the first time. Although the results are anecdotal, the findings are “very encouraging”, says study author and neurology professor Dr Dale Bredesen.

Individualised intervention
As part of the trial, a group of experts put together a 36-point plan for 10 patients with Alzheimer’s. The plans included daily exercise, meditation and yoga. They also followed a strict diet, in some cases including fasting, taking supplements and obtaining an optimal seven to eight hours’ sleep a night.

Each plan was personalised, based on extensive testing to determine what was affecting brain signals in each patient. Although the programmes were complex and difficult to follow – none of the participants were able to fully adhere to them – Bredesen believes a multiple-component approach is key. “The existing Alzheimer’s drug affects a single target, but the disease is more complex,” he says. “Imagine having a roof with 36 holes, and your drug patched one very well... You’d still have 35 other leaks, and so the underlying process may not be affected much.”

Promising results
The results were promising, with nine out of 10 patients seeing improvements in three to six months. The only patient not to gain any benefit had been diagnosed with late-stage Alzheimer’s.

Such were the benefits for some participants that six people who’d been struggling at work, or who had to stop work due to cognitive issues, were able to return to their jobs. Those who stayed in employment showed improved performance. Bredesen adds: “It’s noteworthy that the major side-effects of this therapeutic system are improved health and BMI – a stark contrast to the side-effects of many drugs.”

Further research needed
Overall, the results suggest that memory loss may be reversed, and even improvements sustained, by following a therapeutic plan. Yet Bredesen cautions that further research is needed.

“The current, anecdotal results require a larger trial, not only to confirm or refute the results reported here, but also to address key questions raised, such as the degree of improvement that can be achieved routinely, how late in the course of cognitive decline reversal can be effected... and how long improvement can be sustained,” he explains.

Prior to these findings, other research studies have alluded to the benefits of exercise for cognitive function. Studies have found that physical activity can delay cognitive decline by as much as 10–15 years (see HCM Feb 10, p28); while short bursts of exercise can have an instant impact (see HCM Jan 13, p55).

Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Should clubs own their members’ data or allow them to bring their own devices into the gym? / photo: www.shutterstock.com
Should clubs own their members’ data or allow them to bring their own devices into the gym? / photo: www.shutterstock.com
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/819790_77306.jpg
A small trial suggests wellness interventions, including exercise, can help reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients
Katie Barnes,Alzheimer’s, memory loss, cognitive decline
Latest News
With the launch of its 49th John Reed, RSG Group is looking for more opportunities ...
Latest News
PureGym saw revenues rise by 15 per cent in 2023, with the company announcing plans ...
Latest News
Following three disrupted lockdown years, the European fitness market bounced back in 2023, according to ...
Latest News
Charitable trust, Mytime Active, has removed all single-use plastic overshoes from its swimming pools and ...
Latest News
Community Leisure UK is helping the drive to Net Zero with the launch of a ...
Latest News
Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing ...
Latest News
Norwegian health club operator, Treningshelse Holding, which owns the Aktiv365 and Family Sports Club fitness ...
Latest News
The HCM team were busy at the recent FIBO Global Fitness event in Cologne, Germany, ...
Latest News
Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international ...
Latest News
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has released new data on the US’ wellness economy, valuing ...
Latest News
The fitness sector’s pivot to active wellbeing is being discussed in a new weekly podcast, ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Study Active acquires Premier Global name and select branding assets
Study Active has legally acquired the name “Premier Global” and select Premier Global branding assets from Assessment Technologies Institute LLC, part of Ascend Learning in the US.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Webinar: Building a new energy future for the leisure sector
As one of the most energy-intensive industries in the UK, leisure facilities face a critical challenge in balancing net zero goals, funding and increased costs.
Company profiles
Company profile: Power Plate
Power Plate is owned, manufactured and distributed by Northbrook, Ill.- based Performance Health Systems LLC, ...
Company profiles
Company profile: We Work Well Inc
We Work Well is a global premier hosted buyer event company, connecting high-level executives from ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media launches ‘livegood' wellness channel to deliver in-club entertainment on consoles and screens
Zoom Media, a leading provider of digital media solutions for health clubs, has launched a proprietary wellness content channel called Livegood – a digital hub of health and wellness media.
Featured press releases
Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Directory
Lockers
Fitlockers: Lockers
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
salt therapy products
Saltability: salt therapy products
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
24-24 Oct 2024
QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
Search news, features & products:
Find a supplier:
Technogym
Technogym
Partner sites