exercise memory

Morning exercise can improve decision-making across the day in older adults

Study shows how simple changes to your daily routine is key to good brain health

April 29, 2019

Science Daily/Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

A study of older Australians has found a morning bout of moderate-intensity exercise improves cognitive performance like decision-making across the day compared to prolonged sitting without exercise.

 

Furthermore, the study showed that a morning bout of exercise combined with brief light-intensity walking breaks to frequently disrupt sitting throughout an 8-hour day can boost your short-term memory compared to uninterrupted sitting, according to the study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

 

The 'Brain Breaks' study, led by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and The University of Western Australia, also shows that the distinct responses in cognitive performance to exercise versus exercise and sitting breaks point to different patterns of physical activity being able to enhance distinct aspects of cognition.

 

The study of more than 65 males and females aged 55 -- 80 years examined the effects of acute morning exercise on a treadmill with and without brief 3 minute walking breaks during an 8-hour day of prolonged sitting, and assessed aspects of cognition and concentration including psychomotor function; attention; executive function such as decision-making; visual learning and working memory.

 

Central to mediating the benefits of exercise on learning and memory is brain-derived neurotropic growth factor, a protein which plays an important role in the survival and growth of information-transmitting neurons in the brain. The results demonstrated that this protein was elevated for 8 hours during both exercise conditions, relative to prolonged sitting.

 

Physical activity researcher, Michael Wheeler says the study highlights that uninterrupted sitting should be avoided to maintain optimal cognition across the day, and that moderate-intensity exercise such as a brisk walk should be encouraged for the daily maintenance of brain health.

 

He says the study also reveals that not all aspects of cognition respond in the same way to a given dose of exercise and that it may be possible to manipulate the pattern of activity across the day to optimise specific cognitive outcomes.

 

"With an ageing population which is looking to live healthier for longer, these studies are critical to people enjoying a productive and satisfying quality of life," Wheeler says.

 

"This study highlights how relatively simple changes to your daily routine could have a significant benefit to your cognitive health. It also reveals that one day we may be able to do specific types of exercise to enhance specific cognitive skills such as memory or learning."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190429154529.htm

Exercise may improve memory in heart failure patients

May 4, 2019

Science Daily/European Society of Cardiology

Two-thirds of patients with heart failure have cognitive problems, according to research presented today at EuroHeartCare 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).1

 

Heart failure patients who walked further in a six-minute test, which shows better fitness, as well as those who were younger and more highly educated, were significantly less likely to have cognitive impairment. The results suggest that fitter patients have healthier brain function.

 

Study author Professor Ercole Vellone, of the University of Rome "Tor Vergata," Italy, said: "The message for patients with heart failure is to exercise. We don't have direct evidence yet that physical activity improves cognition in heart failure patients, but we know it improves their quality and length of life. In addition, studies in older adults have shown that exercise is associated with improved cognition -- we hope to show the same for heart failure patients in future studies."

 

The cognitive abilities that are particularly damaged in heart failure patients are memory, processing speed (time it takes to understand and react to information), and executive functions (paying attention, planning, setting goals, making decisions, starting tasks).

 

"These areas are important for memorising healthcare information and having the correct understanding and response to the disease process," said Professor Vellone. "For example, heart failure patients with mild cognitive impairment may forget to take medicines and may not comprehend that weight gain is an alarming situation that requires prompt intervention."

 

The study highlights that cognitive dysfunction is a common problem in patients with heart failure -- 67% had at least mild impairment. "Clinicians might need to adapt their educational approach with heart failure patients -- for example involving a family caregiver to oversee patient adherence to the prescribed treatment," said Professor Vellone.

 

The study used data from the HF-Wii study, which enrolled 605 patients with heart failure from six countries. The average age was 67 and 71% were male. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment test was used to measure cognitive function and exercise capacity was measured with the six-minute walk test.

 

Professor Vellone said: "There is a misconception that patients with heart failure should not exercise. That is clearly not the case. Find an activity you enjoy that you can do regularly. It could be walking, swimming, or any number of activities. There is good evidence that it will improve your health and your memory, and make you feel better."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190504130301.htm

Exercise activates memory neural networks in older adults

Study shows acute exercise has the ability to impact brain regions important to memory

April 25, 2019

Science Daily/University of Maryland

How quickly do we experience the benefits of exercise? A new University of Maryland study of healthy older adults shows that just one session of exercise increased activation in the brain circuits associated with memory -- including the hippocampus -- which shrinks with age and is the brain region attacked first in Alzheimer's disease.

 

"While it has been shown that regular exercise can increase the volume of the hippocampus, our study provides new information that acute exercise has the ability to impact this important brain region," said Dr. J. Carson Smith, an associate professor of kinesiology in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study's lead author.

 

The study is published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

 

Dr. Smith's research team measured the brain activity (using fMRI) of healthy participants ages 55-85 who were asked to perform a memory task that involves identifying famous names and non famous ones. The action of remembering famous names activates a neural network related to semantic memory, which is known to deteriorate over time with memory loss.

 

This test was conducted 30 minutes after a session of moderately intense exercise (70% of max effort) on an exercise bike and on a separate day after a period of rest. Participants' brain activation while correctly remembering names was significantly greater in four brain cortical regions (including the middle frontal gyrus, inferior temporal gryus, middle temporal gyrus, and fusiform gyrus) after exercise compared to after rest. The increased activation of the hippocampus was also seen on both sides of the brain.

 

"Just like a muscle adapts to repeated use, single sessions of exercise may flex cognitive neural networks in ways that promote adaptations over time and lend to increased network integrity and function and allow more efficient access to memories," Dr. Smith explained.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190425104310.htm

Try exercise to improve memory and thinking, new guideline urges

December 28, 2017

Science Daily/Mayo Clinic

For patients with mild cognitive impairment, don't be surprised if your health care provider prescribes exercise rather than medication. A new guideline for medical practitioners says they should recommend twice-weekly exercise to people with mild cognitive impairment to improve memory and thinking.

 

The recommendation is part of an updated guideline for mild cognitive impairment published in the Dec. 27 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

 

"Regular physical exercise has long been shown to have heart health benefits, and now we can say exercise also may help improve memory for people with mild cognitive impairment," says Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., lead author, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic, and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. "What's good for your heart can be good for your brain." Dr. Petersen is the Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research.

 

Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia. Symptoms can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

 

Generally, these changes aren't severe enough to significantly interfere with day-to-day life and usual activities. However, mild cognitive impairment may increase the risk of later progressing to dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease or other neurological conditions. But some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.

 

The academy's guideline authors developed the updated recommendations on mild cognitive impairment after reviewing all available studies. Six-month studies showed twice-weekly workouts may help people with mild cognitive impairment as part of an overall approach to managing their symptoms.

 

Dr. Petersen encourages people to do aerobic exercise: Walk briskly, jog, whatever you like to do, for 150 minutes a week -- 30 minutes, five times or 50 minutes, three times. The level of exertion should be enough to work up a bit of a sweat but doesn't need to be so rigorous that you can't hold a conversation. "Exercising might slow down the rate at which you would progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia," he says.

 

Another guideline update says clinicians may recommend cognitive training for people with mild cognitive impairment. Cognitive training uses repetitive memory and reasoning exercises that may be computer-assisted or done in person individually or in small groups. There is weak evidence that cognitive training may improve measures of cognitive function, the guideline notes.

 

The guideline did not recommend dietary changes or medications. There are no drugs for mild cognitive impairment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

 

More than 6 percent of people in their 60s have mild cognitive impairment across the globe, and the condition becomes more common with age, according to the American Academy of Neurology. More than 37 percent of people 85 and older have it.

 

With such prevalence, finding lifestyle factors that may slow down the rate of cognitive impairment can make a big difference to individuals and society, Dr. Petersen notes.

 

"We need not look at aging as a passive process; we can do something about the course of our aging," he says. "So if I'm destined to become cognitively impaired at age 72, I can exercise and push that back to 75 or 78. That's a big deal."

 

The guideline, endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association, updates a 2001 academy recommendation on mild cognitive impairment. Dr. Petersen was involved in the development of the first clinical trial for mild cognitive impairment and continues as a worldwide leader researching this stage of disease when symptoms possibly could be stopped or reversed.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171228145026.htm

High-intensity exercise boosts memory, new research suggests

November 22, 2017

Science Daily/McMaster University

The health advantages of high-intensity exercise are widely known but new research points to another major benefit: better memory. The findings could have implications for an aging population which is grappling with the growing problem of catastrophic diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's.

 

The findings could have implications for an aging population which is grappling with the growing problem of catastrophic diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's.

 

Scientists have found that six weeks of intense exercise -- short bouts of interval training over the course of 20 minutes -- showed significant improvements in what is known as high-interference memory, which, for example, allows us to distinguish our car from another of the same make and model.

 

The study is published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

 

The findings are important because memory performance of the study participants, who were all healthy young adults, increased over a relatively short period of time, say researchers.

 

They also found that participants who experienced greater fitness gains also experienced greater increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports the growth, function and survival of brain cells.

 

"Improvements in this type of memory from exercise might help to explain the previously established link between aerobic exercise and better academic performance," says Jennifer Heisz, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster and lead author of the study.

 

"At the other end of our lifespan, as we reach our senior years, we might expect to see even greater benefits in individuals with memory impairment brought on by conditions such as dementia," she says.

 

For the study, 95 participants completed six weeks of exercise training, combined exercise and cognitive training or no training (the control group which did neither and remained sedentary). Both the exercise and combined training groups improved performance on a high-interference memory task, while the control group did not.

 

Researchers measured changes in aerobic fitness, memory and neurotrophic factor, before and after the study protocol.

 

The results reveal a potential mechanism for how exercise and cognitive training may be changing the brain to support cognition, suggesting that the two work together through complementary pathways of the brain to improve high-interference memory.

 

Researchers have begun to examine older adults to determine if they will experience the same positive results with the combination of exercise and cognitive training.

 

"One hypothesis is that we will see greater benefits for older adults given that this type of memory declines with age," says Heisz. "However, the availability of neurotrophic factors also declines with age and this may mean that we do not get the synergistic effects."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171122103555.htm

Running, cardio activities in young adulthood preserves thinking in middle age

April 2, 2014

Science Daily/American Academy of Neurology (AAN)

 

Young adults who run or participate in other cardio fitness activities may preserve their memory and thinking skills in middle age, according to a new study published in the April 2, 2014, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Middle age was defined as ages 43 to 55.

"Many studies show the benefits to the brain of good heart health," said study author David R. Jacobs, Jr, PhD, with the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. "This is one more important study that should remind young adults of the brain health benefits of cardio fitness activities such as running, swimming, biking or cardio fitness classes."

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of how well your body transports oxygen to your muscles, and how well your muscles are able to absorb the oxygen during exercise.

For the study, 2,747 healthy people with an average age of 25 underwent treadmill tests the first year of the study and then again 20 years later. Cognitive tests taken 25 years after the start of the study measured verbal memory, psychomotor speed (the relationship between thinking skills and physical movement) and executive function.

For the treadmill test, which was similar to a cardiovascular stress test, participants walked or ran as the speed and incline increased until they could not continue or had symptoms such as shortness of breath. At the first test, participants lasted an average of 10 minutes on the treadmill. Twenty years later, that number decreased by an average of 2.9 minutes. For every additional minute people completed on the treadmill at the first test, they recalled 0.12 more words correctly on the memory test of 15 words and correctly replaced 0.92 more numbers with meaningless symbols in the test of psychomotor speed 25 years later, even after adjusting for other factors such as smoking, diabetes and high cholesterol.

People who had smaller decreases in their time completed on the treadmill test 20 years later were more likely to perform better on the executive function test than those who had bigger decreases. Specifically, they were better able to correctly state ink color (for example, for the word "yellow" written in green ink, the correct answer was "green").

"These changes were significant, and while they may be modest, they were larger than the effect from one year of aging," Jacobs said. "Other studies in older individuals have shown that these tests are among the strongest predictors of developing dementia in the future. One study showed that every additional word remembered on the memory test was associated with an 18-percent decrease in the risk of developing dementia after 10 years."

"These findings are likely to help us earlier identify and consequently prevent or treat those at high risk of developing dementia," Jacobs said.

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140402162333.htm

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