The brain?s small blood vessels play a role in conditions that affect how clearly people think and could affect development of Alzheimer?s disease. Finding ways to maintain blood vessel health as people age is important. This study asked: ?Is physical activity good for the brain?s small veins?? For two years, older adults took part in either physical activity (walking at a pace to cause heavy breathing) or healthy aging classes.

Brain scans were conducted before and after to find veins that were either straight (healthier) or had repeated twists (unhealthy). Total length of the straight veins was greater in the exercisers than in the group taking healthy aging classes. The two groups did not differ in their unhealthy veins. This study included a small number of people (24), so these results should be confirmed in larger studies. However, the findings suggest that physical activity may help the brain?s small veins ? even in older age!?View the abstract.

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