Cold water swimming may protect the brain from degenerative diseases like dementia, researchers from Cambridge University have discovered.
In a world first, a “cold-shock” protein has been found in the blood of regular winter swimmers at London’s Parliament Hill Lido.
The protein has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and even repair some of the damage it causes in mice.
Prof Giovanna Mallucci, who runs the UK Dementia Research Institute’s Centre at the University of Cambridge, says the discovery could point researchers towards new drug treatments which may help hold dementia at bay.
The research – although promising – is at an early stage, but it centres on the hibernation ability that all mammals retain, which is prompted by exposure to cold.