WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Do this tongue exercise ten times every morning and prevent Alzheimer’s disease: FIT does a fact check.

4 min read
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressively degenerative neurological disorder that mostly affects the elderly.
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There are more than 3.7 million people in India living with some form of dementia of which Alzheimer's is the most common according to this report. The number is expected to rise to 7.6 million by 2030.

But, there is very little understanding about what causes this degenerative brain disorder that impacts memory and other mental functions, how to prevent it and stall its progress. A cure remains elusive.

In this situation, if a ‘breakthrough’ prevention comes your way on social media, you'll be tempted to follow it. But are these claims true?

We came across a claim made on Whatsapp that doing these ‘preventive tongue exercises’ can protect you from getting Alzheimer's.

The Claim

WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?
(Photo: Whatsapp)
WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?
(Photo: Whatsapp)
WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?
(Photo: Whatsapp)
WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?
(Photo: Whatsapp)

This post, that has been doing the rounds off late, claims that a particular tongue exercise can not only improve ‘brain retention’ and prevent the onset of Alzheimer's, but also help ward off a score of ailments such as common cold, fatigue, throat infection, asthma etc.

So Is It True or False?

FIT spoke to Dr Vinny Sood, senior consultant, neurology at Max hospital to get to the bottom of it and this is what she had to say,

“There is no authentic, recognised research paper that supports the claim that something like this could work.”

As for this particular statement...

WebQoof: Can Doing This Tongue Exercise Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

...Dr Sood explains,

“There is no such thing as a ‘BIG’ brain. What they could be referring to is the cerebral hemisphere of which the tongue function does occupy a major part of the anatomy.”

However, that does not mean that exercising the tongue could help strengthen the brain.

Because, as it happens, the motor cortex of the cerebral hemisphere is responsible for all voluntary movements which means that all voluntary muscles including the ones in your limbs are connected to it.

The stiffening that the post talks of, in those exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer's, too, is not restricted to the tongue but all voluntary muscles.

The idea that exercising one muscle results in regeneration or strengthening of neural connections in the brain is generally accepted. That is partly the reason for recommending physiotherapy for victims of paralytic attacks. But, the results are restricted to that muscle only.

Exercising one muscle does not strengthen another.

The post also claims to cure other ailments such as,

  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Far-sightedness
  • Buzzing in the ears
  • Throat infection
  • Insomnia
  • Even bodyweight!

Dr Sood responds to this saying, “No. That is just absurd and there is no scientific validity to any of it.”

So Is There Something That Can Help?

“The kind of exercises that can help, if at all, slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s are brain exercises such as solving puzzles, Sudoku, memory games and learning a new skill such as a language, cooking, or even dancing.”
Dr Vinny Sood

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative neurological disorder which is yet not fully understood.

Certain lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising and getting enough sleep could help maintain healthy brain activity and possibly even delay the onset of memory disorders like Alzheimer's and Dementia.

But, there is no strong evidence that even these measures could prevent either of the illnesses, altogether.

However, you're still better off adopting healthy life choices and practising brain exercises to keep up your general health up, both physical and mental.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9910181818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we’ll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here)

(India, and the Capital especially, has been in an air pollution crisis. How has the hazardous air #pollution impacted you? Write down your #PollutionKaSolution and send it to us at FIT@thequint.com. )

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