Published on: October 23, 2016
Taking regular exercise might provide a small benefit for people with early signs of dementia, research suggests.
A clinical trial on two groups of elderly people found those who followed an exercise program had a small improvement in overall thinking skills compared with those who did not exercise.
But the results suggested the benefit might last only as long as people continued with an exercise plan.
The findings, published in the journal Neurology, examined people with early signs of vascular dementia.
This is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease.
It causes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language, and occurs when there are problems with the supply of blood to the brain.
The study involved 70 people with an average age of 74.
Half of them took part in a one-hour exercise class three times a week for a six-month period.
The other half were given information on their condition and followed a healthy diet, but were not told to exercise.
Both groups were tested before the study, after it finished and six months later for overall thinking skills, executive function skills – such as planning and organising – and how well they could carry out their daily routine.
The results showed those who exercised had a small improvement on the test of overall thinking skills – improving by 1.7 points – compared with those who did not exercise.
Study author Teresa Liu-Ambrose, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said: “This result, while modest, was similar to that seen in previous studies testing the use of drugs for people with vascular cognitive impairment.
“However, the difference was less than what is considered to be the minimal clinically important difference of three points.”
Six months after the exercise group stopped taking exercise, their scores were no different than those who did not exercise.
There was no improvement on executive function skills or daily activities.
However, the exercise group had better blood pressure control and there were improvements on how far they could walk in six minutes.
Researchers said this was important because high blood pressure increased the risk of dementia.
On Mother’s Day, amazing support for women’s brain health and our initiative from Robin Wright, Diane Lane, Trudie Styler, Teddy Sears, Martha Stewart, Tonya Lewis Lee, Marcia Gay Harden, Donna Karan, and Cecile Richards.
Here’s some of the “Best Brain Boosts” we’ve discovered to help women boost their brain health, providing a buffer against cognitive decline.
Thanks to the ongoing support of our partner Brain Canada, and The Citrine Foundation of Canada, Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s newest edition of MIND OVER MATTER has just been published. Loaded with interesting science-based articles, MIND OVER...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.