Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Never Too Late to Improve Brain Health

The brain’s superpowers, plasticity and the capacity to grow new brain cells, allow the brain to improve with lifestyle changes throughout the entire lifespan.  The most common risk to the brain is the neurodegenerative Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Research has demonstrated that Cathespin B (CTSB) increases in young adults who exercise, and it is also associated with improved cognitive capacity.  A new study examined the impact of a 26-week supervised treadmill exercise program on 23 older adults with familial or genetic risk for AD, with an average age of 65 years and 50% female.  The data showed that CTSB levels in the blood had increased after 26 weeks of exercise, and participants also experienced improved verbal learning and memory results on the California Verbal Learning Test-II.  This research suggests that exercise is a lifestyle practice that can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Takeaway: Exercise has been found to be neuroprotective by lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults, supporting the notion that it is never too late to start, or recommit to, some form of exercise in order to improve brain health.


Julian M. Gaitan, Effects of Aerobic Exercise Training on Biomarkers and Cognition in Late Middle-Aged Adults at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontiers in Endocronology, May 20, 2021,

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