Exercise can improve Alzheimer's symptoms

January 30, 2018 by Kristen Cole, University of Connecticut
Mary Carroll Root helps participants during a Powerful Aging Exercise class in Connecticut. Credit: Al Ferreira for UConn Health Center

A new University of Connecticut analysis of years of previous research suggests there is ample evidence that exercise may delay the decline in cognitive function associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Aerobic has possibly the most favorable effect, according to the study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Led by Gregory Panza, a UConn kinesiology graduate student, this is the first analysis of a group of studies on a particular type of dementia – Alzheimer's.

The authors examined data from 19 studies with 23 interventions that encompassed 1,125 participants who were at risk of Alzheimer's. The studies were all conducted prior to August 2017 and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Approximately 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. And the incidence of Alzheimer's is expected to more than double by 2050.

Panza and his colleagues examined studies that involved exercise-only interventions; included a non-diet, non-exercise control group; and were made up of people at risk of or diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The studies all gauged pre- and post-intervention cognitive function measurements.

The studies led to the overall conclusion that moderate-intensity exercise training about three days a week for 45 minutes resulted in modestly better cognitive function for participants.

The findings reinforce the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, which recommend exercise as a cost-effective lifestyle therapeutic option to improve brain health in older adults.

Explore further: Aerobic exercise may mildly delay, slightly improve Alzheimer's symptoms

Related Stories

Aerobic exercise may mildly delay, slightly improve Alzheimer's symptoms

January 26, 2018
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a brain disorder that destroys memory and thinking skills over time. It is the most common form of dementia in older adults. There is presently no cure for the condition, though treatment options ...

New guideline: Try exercise to improve memory, thinking

December 27, 2017
For patients with mild cognitive impairment, don't be surprised if your health care provider prescribes exercise rather than medication. A new guideline for medical practitioners says they should recommend twice-weekly exercise ...

Population of Americans with Alzheimer's will more than double by 2060, study shows

December 7, 2017
About 15 million Americans will have either Alzheimer's dementia or mild cognitive impairment by 2060, up from approximately 6.08 million this year, according to a new study by researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public ...

Exercise maintains brain size, new research finds

November 13, 2017
Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

Exercise study offers hope in fight against Alzheimer's

May 3, 2017
Could the initiation of a simple walking exercise program help older adults to reverse declines in key brain regions? A new study led by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers adds more information about ...

New research suggests high-intensity exercise boosts memory

November 22, 2017
The health advantages of high-intensity exercise are widely known but new research from McMaster University points to another major benefit: better memory.

Recommended for you

New study suggests viral connection to Alzheimer's disease

June 21, 2018
Of the major illnesses facing humanity, Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains among the most pitiless and confounding. Over a century after its discovery, no effective prevention or treatment exists for this progressive deterioration ...

New screening tool could help diagnose early cognitive decline in dementia from home

June 19, 2018
An international team of scientists have developed a new way to screen for age-related cognitive decline at home using a test which asks people to detect sounds and flashes on their laptop or phone.

Genes linked to Alzheimer's contribute to damage in different ways

June 12, 2018
Multiple genes are implicated in Alzheimer's disease. Some are linked to early-onset Alzheimer's, a condition that develops in one's 30s, 40s and 50s, while others are associated with the more common late-onset form of the ...

Researchers reverse cognitive impairments in mice with dementia

June 8, 2018
Reversing memory deficits and impairments in spatial learning is a major goal in the field of dementia research. A lack of knowledge about cellular pathways critical to the development of dementia, however, has stood in the ...

As mystery deepens over the cause of Alzheimer's, researchers seek new answers

June 6, 2018
For more than 20 years, much of the leading research on Alzheimer's disease has been guided by the "amyloid hypothesis."

Research reveals how Tau aggregates can contribute to cell death in Alzheimer's disease

June 5, 2018
New evidence suggests a mechanism by which progressive accumulation of Tau protein in brain cells may lead to Alzheimer's disease. Scientists studied more than 600 human brains and fruit fly models of Alzheimer's disease ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.