Men who exercise reduce their risk of developing epilepsy later in life, finds a new study. Epilepsy is a brain disease that causes repeated seizures over time.
The researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that men who had a high level of fitness were 79 per cent less likely to develop epilepsy than those with low fitness levels and 36 per cent less likely to develop epilepsy than those with medium fitness levels.
According to the study author, Elinor Ben-Menachem, there are a host of ways exercise has been shown to benefit the brain and reduce the risk of brain diseases. The study is first of its kind to show that exercise may also reduce the risk of epilepsy, which can be disabling and life-threatening.
1.17 million Swedish men were given cycle tests that measured cardiovascular fitness at age 18. The participants were then assessed for epilepsy for an average of 25 years. During follow-up, 6,796 men were diagnosed with epilepsy.
The proportion of men with high fitness who developed epilepsy in the study was 0.48 per cent, the proportion of men with medium fitness who developed epilepsy was 0.62 per cent and the proportion of men with low fitness who developed epilepsy was 1.09 per cent. The results were lessened only slightly after considering genetic factors and a prior history of traumatic brain injury, stroke or diabetes.
The study is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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