Aerobic exercise helps keep dementia at bay

Washington: A new study has found that doing regular aerobic exercise like walking, gym workouts and activities at home such as shovelling snow or raking leaves may reduce the risk of dementia and slow its progression once it starts.

Dr J Eric Ahlskog, a neurologist at Mayo Clinic, and his colleagues analyzed all the scientific literature on the subject of exercise and cognition, including animal studies and observational studies, and reviewed more than 1,600 papers.

“We concluded that you can make a very compelling argument for exercise as a disease-modifying strategy to prevent dementia and mild cognitive impairment, and for favourably modifying these processes once they have developed,” said Ahlskog.

The researchers said that brain imaging studies have consistently revealed objective evidence of favourable effects of exercise on human brain integrity, while animal research showed exercise generates tropic factors that improve brain functioning, and exercise facilitates brain connections.

“Whether addressing our patients in primary care or neurology clinics, we should continue to encourage exercise for not only general health, but also cognitive health,” Ahlskog concluded.

The findings were published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.


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