Exercise May Protect the Older Brain from "Silent Strokes"

Catharine Paddock, PhD

Encouraging older people to engage in moderate-to-intense exercise may protect their brains from small lesions also known as "silent strokes," according to a new study that appeared online in the journal Neurology this week. However, the study did not find this benefit in people on Medicaid or with no health insurance, implying that a life of hardship erodes it.

Although they are the first sign of cerebrovascular disease, infarcts or "silent strokes" are often overlooked because people who have them don't experience the more well-known signs and symptoms of major stroke, such as severe headache, dizziness, inability to smile, drooping side of face or eye, inability to lift one or both arms, and slurred or garbled speech.

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