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Physical exercise doesn’t slow down dementia once it appears, study shows

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Exer­cise ‘doesn’t slow’ pro­gres­sion of demen­tia (NHS Choic­es):

A tri­al in which peo­ple with demen­tia took part in a mod­er­ate­ly intense exer­cise pro­gramme for 4 months found their men­tal decline did not slow and may even have wors­ened faster than in peo­ple who did not take part in the pro­gramme…While the exer­cise pro­gramme did improve people’s phys­i­cal fit­ness, at least in the short term, it did not improve their qual­i­ty of life or abil­i­ty to care for them­selves, or the qual­i­ty of life of those car­ing for them.

It’s impor­tant to note this does not change what we know about exercise’s abil­i­ty to pro­tect against demen­tia. Peo­ple who exer­cise more are less like­ly to get demen­tia, pos­si­bly because it main­tains blood flow to the brain.

How­ev­er, once the brain has been dam­aged by demen­tia, exer­cise may not help pre­vent fur­ther dam­age.”

The Study:

Demen­tia And Phys­i­cal Activ­i­ty (DAPA) tri­al of mod­er­ate to high inten­si­ty exer­cise train­ing for peo­ple with demen­tia: ran­domised con­trolled tri­al (British Med­ical Jour­nal):

  • Objec­tive: To esti­mate the effect of a mod­er­ate to high inten­si­ty aer­o­bic and strength exer­cise train­ing pro­gramme on cog­ni­tive impair­ment and oth­er out­comes in peo­ple with mild to mod­er­ate demen­tia.
  • Par­tic­i­pants: 494 peo­ple with demen­tia: 329 were assigned to an aer­o­bic and strength exer­cise pro­gramme and 165 were assigned to usu­al care.
  • Con­clu­sion: A mod­er­ate to high inten­si­ty aer­o­bic and strength exer­cise train­ing pro­gramme does not slow cog­ni­tive impair­ment in peo­ple with mild to mod­er­ate demen­tia. The exer­cise train­ing pro­gramme improved phys­i­cal fit­ness, but there were no notice­able improve­ments in oth­er clin­i­cal out­comes.

The Study in Context:

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness

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