New research suggests Alzheimer's patients with higher fitness levels have larger brains than those who are less physically fit.
The study published in the latest Neurology journal examined 121 people aged 60 and over, including 57 individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers found the differences in brain shrinkage were linked to physical fitness and were not related to other variables such as gender, age and frailty.
Jeffrey M Burns, from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, said: "People with early Alzheimer's disease who were less physically fit had four times more brain shrinkage when compared to normal older adults than those who were more physically fit."
He went on to suggest people with early Alzheimer's may be able to preserve brain function for a longer period by taking regular exercise.
A separate study released yesterday by researchers from the University of New South Wales's school of psychiatry found the brain may shrink more quickly in people who carry out less-complex mental activity during their lifetimes.
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