Workout 2-3X’s Weekly for Good Brain Health
According to a new review of the research, there is little evidence that medications improve mild cognitive decline associated with aging, but doctors can recommend exercise with confidence.
Researchers reviewed 11,530 studies of so-called MCI (mild cognitive impairment), to see how many older people are affected and which interventions and lifestyle changes have been shown to improve symptoms.
MCI becomes increasingly common at older ages and is characterized by mild problems with thinking and memory that usually do not interfere with daily life or independent function.
People diagnosed with MCI are more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer’s or other dementia’s than people without it.
Until now, said Ronald Petersen, the lead author of the new study and American Academy of Neurology (AAN) treatment guidelines, “Clinicians didn’t know what to do with these people. Now that we know that it’s a burgeoning condition we need to pay attention when folks come in and complain.”
Dr, Petersen, who directs the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minnesota, and his coauthors found that between ages 60 and 64, 6.7% of people have MCI. In the 65-69 age group, that rises to 8.4%, and about 10% at ages 70-74, nearly 15% at 75-79 and just over 25% at ages 80 to 84.
When they looked at the use of drugs, such as cholinesterase inhibitors, they found “no high-quality evidence” that the medications work, according to the report in the journal Neurology.
Their analysis of studies looking at the effects of physical exercise on cognition did find a benefit, though.
In one study involving 86 women with MCI, 70 to 80 anni, researchers found that 2X-weekly resistance training for 26 weeks was more effective than aerobic training over the same time frame at increasing what’s known as executive functioning. After completing the exercise regimen, the women were better able to plan, manage and organize their thoughts.
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