Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Mild Cognitive Impairment-A Controlled Trial

January 01, 0001

Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Mild Cognitive Impairment-A Controlled Trial

These US authors examined the effects of aerobic exercise on cognition and other biomarkers associated with Alzheimer disease pathology for older adults and assessed the role of sex as a predictor of response. They enrolled 33 adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment ranging in age from 55 to 85 years (mean age, 70 years)in a randomized controlled trial. Participants were randomized either to a high-intensity aerobic exercise or stretching control group. The aerobic group exercised under the supervision of a fitness trainer at 75% to 85% of heart rate reserve for 45 to 60 min per day, 4 days per week for 6 months. The control group carried out supervised stretching activities according to the same schedule but maintained their heart rate at or below 50% of their heart rate reserve.

They found: “Six months of high-intensity aerobic exercise had sex-specific effects on cognition, glucose metabolism, and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and trophic activity despite comparable gains in cardiorespiratory fitness and body fat reduction. For women, aerobic exercise improved performance on multiple tests of executive function, increased glucose disposal during the metabolic clamp, and reduced fasting plasma levels of insulin, cortisol, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. For men, aerobic exercise increased plasma levels of insulinlike growth factor I and had a favorable effect only on Trails B performance.”

The authors concluded: “This study provides support, using rigorous controlled methodology, for a potent nonpharmacologic intervention that improves executive control processes for older women at high risk of cognitive decline. Moreover, our results suggest that a sex bias in cognitive response may relate to sex-based differences in glucometabolic and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to aerobic exercise.”

Larger and longer studies of exercise for older adults are needed.

For the full abstract, click here.

Arch Neurol 67(1):71-79, January 2010. © 2010 to the American Medical Associaion.
Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Mild Cognitive Impairment-A Controlled Trial. Laura D. Baker, Laura L. Frank, Karen Foster-Schubert, et al. Correspondence to Dr. Baker: [email protected]

Category: N. Neurological. Keywords: exercise, older adults, aerobic, cognitive impairment, randomized controlled trial
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 26 January 2010

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.