Exercise can likewise improve blood pressure as well as cardiovascular health. as well as some research suggests that will frequent, brisk walks may improve memory as well as physical abilities in those within the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. yet, rather surprisingly, few past studies had examined whether exercise might also improve brain function in people with vascular dementia.
So for the brand-new study, which was published in April within the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada as well as various other institutions decided to look into the effects of walking on This specific type of dementia.
They began by recruiting 38 older people in British Columbia who had been given diagnoses of a mild, early form of vascular cognitive impairment. None currently exercised. All agreed to visit the university’s lab frequently for six months.
On the participants’ first lab visit, the scientists measured their general health as well as also memory as well as thinking skills.
They then scanned each volunteer’s brain while he or she concentrated on a computerized test of attention as well as decision-creating skills that will involved rapidly clicking keys to indicate the direction that will an arrow should point. This specific scan was designed to reveal neural activity as well as how hard different parts of the brain were working during the task.
Finally, the scientists randomly assigned their volunteers to start either walking or, as a control group, to visit the lab for weekly education sessions about nutrition as well as healthy living.
The walking program was simple, consisting of supervised one-hour sessions at the lab three times a week. The walkers were asked to move briskly enough during their workout to raise their heart rates to about 65 percent of their maximum capacity.
“We wanted to have some intensity” within the exercise, says Teresa Liu-Ambrose, the director of the Aging, Mobility as well as Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of British Columbia as well as the study’s lead author.
Most of the walkers completed all of the sessions as well as “seemed to be enjoying the exercise” by the end of the six months, she says.
At that will point, the volunteers in both groups repeated the physical as well as cognitive tests coming from six months earlier, as well as the brain scan.
The results showed that will the two groups had drifted apart, in terms of the functions of their bodies as well as brains. Most obviously, the walkers generally had lower blood pressures today than the volunteers within the control group.
yet more striking, their brains also were working differently. The walkers’ brains showed less activation in portions of the brain required for attention as well as rapid decision-creating than did the brains of those within the control group.
The differences were subtle, Dr. Liu-Ambrose says, yet they correlated neatly with improvements on the cognitive tests. The less someone’s brain had to work to maintain attention as well as make quick decisions, the better that will person typically performed on the tests of general thinking ability.
In essence, the walkers had more efficient brains as well as better thinking skills today than the control group did, she says.
Of course, This specific study was short term, lasting only six months, after which the volunteers were free to stop exercising — as well as most did. Dr. Liu-Ambrose as well as her colleagues desire within the future to study whether as well as how rapidly the brains as well as bodies of exercisers lose any gains if they become sedentary again. They also want to look into different “doses” of exercise as well as whether shorter or easier workouts would certainly have an effect on brain function in people with vascular dementia.
Obviously, anyone with memory or various other cognitive problems should consult that has a doctor before starting to exercise as well as should probably not exercise alone, Dr. Liu-Ambrose says.
yet even with so many questions remaining, the results of This specific study are encouraging, she says. They show that will within the early states of vascular dementia, “something as simple as well as accessible as walking may make a meaningful difference” in how well the brain works.
Continue reading the main story