Physical Activity May Help Treat Dementia

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WASHINGTON, DC — New research shows that being physically active not only reduces cognitive decline and improves neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with dementia but may actually reduce Alzheimer’s disease (AD) biomarkers, including amyloid and tau protein in the brain.

Exercise could also benefit patients with types of dementia other than AD, another study suggests.

Some of this promising new research on exercise was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2015.

Danish researchers had already presented cognition-related results of the multicenter ADEX study at the recent first Congress of the European Academy of Neurology. That analysis, reported at that time byMedscape Medical News, showed that older adults with mild to moderate AD who had at least 80% adherence to an aerobic exercise program and maintained at least 70% of their maximum heart rate (the “high exercise” group) had a statistically significant (P = .03) advantage on the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) over a control group.

The intervention consisted of 1 hour of aerobic exercise three times a week for 16 weeks. The control group received usual care.

Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) 2015. Oral presentations 05-0406, 0504-05, and 05-04-04. Presented July 23, 2015.

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