Scientists have identified a simple breathing trick which could reduce the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s.
The cruel disease impacts hundreds of thousands of Britons and slowly snatches away memories from sufferers.
Researchers claim inhaling for a count of five and then exhaling for the same length of time can benefit the brain.
The breathing exercise could cut the amount of amyloid beta in a person’s blood if completed for two-times a day for 20 minutes.
It has been reported that a person’s heart rate, nervous system and the way our brain addresses toxic proteins changes after the exercise.
Experts at the University of Southern California’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology used the breathing exercise during a recent study.
Researchers recruited 108 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 and 55 to 80.
Participants were asked to complete the breathing exercise for 20 minutes twice a day while connected to a heart monitor which was being tracked by a laptop.
Half of the participants were told to think of calming thoughts and watch the heart rate line to make sure it remained as steady as possible.
The remainder of the cohort were urged to match their breathing with a pacer on the screen.
Experts hoped the second group would see their heart rate variability increase.
Blood samples were taken from the participants ahead of the exercise and four weeks after they were completed.
The group that breathed slowly and tried to increase their heart rate variability by increasing oscillations had less amyloid in their blood.
The study has been published in the Nature Portfolio.
The number of people suffering with Alzheimer’s in the United Kingdom is estimated to total 850,000
Amyloid beta has been heavily linked with the disease in recent decades.
Neurologists now warn the toxic proteins could cause the disease.
However, researchers working on the study cannot yet understand the mechanism behind their findings.
Professor Mara Mather, director of the Emotion & Cognition Lab at the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, said: ”Based on the data we have, it appears the decrease in amyloid beta is due more to decreased production.
“But that doesn't exclude the possibility of increased clearance.”
Professor Mather added: “Regularly practicing slow-paced breathing via HRV biofeedback may be a low-cost and low-risk way to reduce plasma amyloid beta levels and to keep them low throughout adulthood.”