Swimming in Cold Water Can Help Brain Fight Dementia and Other Degenerative Disorders
Swimming in cold water can help prevent degenerative brain diseases | Image for representation | Credit: Reuters
Cold water does not only help quench the thirst in hot summer days but it can also protect the brain against dementia. While conducting research, scientists found a "cold-shock" protein in the blood of regular swimmers in London's Parliament Hill Lido. The cold-shock protein is called RBM3.
The study conducted by researchers from Cambridge University reveals that the rise in production of RBM3 helps repair vital connections in the brain. The protein keeps the debilitating condition at bay for longer.
According to the researchers, the compound is also generated by hibernating mammals. It causes the destruction and regrowth of synapses, which once lost in dementia can’t be replenished. Due to the loss of synapses, a decline in cognitive function is experienced. As a result of this, a person can have difficulty in concentrating and feel confused.
In case of hibernating animals, the protein leads to the removal of 20 to 30 per cent of their synapses when they lie down for sleep in winter. However, the regeneration starts by the spring when the animals come into action.
The scientists carrying out the research said that a drug can trigger the production of this protein, staving off the onset of dementia by years.
Various studies on mice have also shown that the protein could ward off the onset of degenerative brain diseases by years.
BBC reported that the brain of a person can be protected by cooling him down. That’s why people having head injuries or those who have to undergo cardiac operations are often cooled during surgery.
During the research, the scientists tested the swimmers under observation for the protein during the winters of 2016, 2017 and 2018. They also monitored members of a Tai Chi club practising by the pool. The researchers noticed increased levels of the RBM3 in the swimmers. But, the interesting thing is that the scientists did not find the compound in higher quantities in the martial art club members, who never went into the pool.
The mission is to find a drug that can cause the regeneration or rise in production of this protein, reported BBC quoting Professor Giovanna Mallucci, who led the study, as saying.
The research has not been published till now.