STUDY: Exercise linked to improving older women’s brains
Mild cognitive impairment is a condition affecting memory and thinking that is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
We don’t know how to prevent or cure MCI, but there is some indication that exercise may help.
A new study looked at 86 women between the ages of 70 and 80 who had probable mild cognitive impairment.
The women were randomly assigned to aerobic exercise, resistance training, or balance and tone training (the control group) for 26 weeks.
Researchers measured the volume of the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in memory, in participants before and after the interventions.
Those who had done aerobic exercise showed bigger hippocampal volume after the intervention, compared to the group that did balance and tone. Those who did resistance training did not show the benefit.
Strangely, those who had larger hippocampal volume also tended to score worse on a verbal learning test. This was a small study and more research is needed to explain the findings.