Frontotemporal dementia has one known risk factor: genetics.
Research published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests exercise can reduce the risk, even in those that carry the genetic mutation.
The study involved 105 people who carry the genetic mutation that causes FTD.
All were either asymptomatic or had mild, early-stage symptoms. Also included were 69 people who did not carry the genetic mutation.
Genetic mutation carriers who had more active lifestyles were found to have more than 55 percent slower decline per year.
Dr. Rawan Tarawneh, a cognitive neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, was encouraged by the findings.
“It’s fascinating because we’ve seen the role of physical activity in maintaining brain health in Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. There hasn’t been another study of this size and meticulous analysis in FTD,” Tarawneh told Healthline.
She added: “It was well-designed, had a well-characterized cohort, and strong data. It covers a major gap in the field right now.
“It’s timely with our focus on physical health and mindfulness and mental exercise, particularly for people who have mutations that increase risk for conditions like FTD.”