Cold water swimming has been mooted as a potential treatment for depression, however could it also assist slow dementia? Scientists studying winter bathers have reasons to be optimistic
United by a perverse fondness for hypothermic temperature levels and an aversion to wetsuits, cold water swimmers in the northern hemisphere are when again enjoying a season of winter bathing.
It is a curious hobby that has actually been mooted as a prospective treatment for anxiety, which might help discuss why the UKs lidos and swimming clubs report a boom in subscription. Now researchers reckon routine icy dips could likewise use ideas in the hunt for a treatment for dementia.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge studied winter bathers at Londons unheated Parliament Hill Lido, and discovered that when exposed to cold water their bodies produced a protein that is believed to slow dementia.
According to the NHS, around 850,000 individuals in the UK deal with dementia– a figure set to rise to 1m by 2025 on account of the countrys aging population.
Cold water swimming is not for everybody and can be harmful to people with specific health conditions. The obstacle for scientists, for that reason, is to produce a drug that promotes the production of RBM3 and also show that it does undoubtedly slow dementia.
The research is in its early phases, but supports existing studies that recommend low temperature levels set off the production of a cold-shock protein called RBM3. Researchers think RBM3 enables synapses in the brain to re-form lost connections in the same way that the brains of hibernating animals do when they emerge from winter.
Prof Giovanna Mallucci, who runs the UK Dementia Research Institutes Centre at the University of Cambridge, told the BBC that delaying dementia by even a brief period might assist individuals and also decrease the financial expense of the disease.
Icy dips set off the release of cold-shock protein, which researchers believe slows dementia. Image: Vidar Nordli Mathisen
” If you slowed the development of dementia by even a number of years on an entire population, that would have a massive impact financially and health-wise,” she stated.
Main image: Todd Quackenbush