Doctor’s Newest Orders: Exercise to Improve Your Memory

Good news, folks! If you have friends or family members who might be experiencing some age-related changes in cognition (ie, memory and thinking skills), regular exercise might be able to help!

In a recent update to the 2001 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) clinical practice guidelines for individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), clinicians are encouraged to recommend regular exercise to patients who are about 65 years of age and exhibiting signs of MCI.

“Although long term studies are unavailable, 6-month studies suggest a possible benefit of twice weekly exercise for cognition.”

This news is particularly good given that there are no FDA-approved medications for the treatment of MCI. “Moreover, there are no high-quality, long-term studies identifying pharmacologic or dietary agents that either improve cognition or delay progression in patients with MCI.”

The even better news is that the guideline states that MCI is treatable as long as it is NOT linked to a disease of brain cells that worsens over time, like Parkinson disease.

What does MCI look like? Individuals with MCI have a milder form of some symptoms seen in people with dementia. For example, they may struggle to finish complex tasks and fully grasp information that they have read.

Exercise might just be medicine once again, my friends!

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Sources

Paddock C. Mild cognitive impairment ‘treatable’ with regular exercise, say experts. www.medicalnewstoday.com. Updated 3 Jan 2018. Accessed 9 Jan 2018.

Peterson RC, et al. Practice guideline update summary: mild cognitive impairment. 27 Dec 2017. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004826.

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