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Research: Aerobic Exercise Mitigates Dementia

By Chen Fu-Xia
Published: Mar 19,2018

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and National Cheng Kung University jointly announced the results of their latest research study on dementia. The report pointed out that aerobic exercise can effectively mitigate cognitive function deterioration for elderly people with mild cognitive impairment.

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According to the Ministry of the Interior's demographic data estimates, the dementia rate in the population of people over the age of 65 in Taiwan is 7.94% with 18.36% experiencing mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Hence, as many as 10-54% of one in five elderly people will experience worsening dementia within the next year.

Currently, there are no medications which can cure dementia and there is ongoing research in relation to cures in a number of countries. Taiwan National Cheng Kung University Institute of Physical Education, Health & Leisure Studies Professor Tsai Chia-Liang, Alzheimer's Dementia Research Center (ADRC) National Cheng Kung University Hospital Chairperson Bai Ming-qi, and Slovak Academy of Sciences carried out a bilateral international joint program to collaborate on treatment strategies.

In the research program there were over 70 cases of participants with MCI, and the research subjects were between fifty to eighty years of age. The participants primarily suffered from MCI and were divided into groups who engaged in the following exercises for four months: aerobic exercise (such as jogging and cycling), muscle training, and stretching exercises. The subjects exercised at least three times a week for a period of 30 minutes at exertion levels of 60-70%.

The results of the grouped experiments indicated that those who did aerobic exercise experienced the best improvements, followed by those who did muscle training, and those who did stretching exercises only experienced limited improvements. However, the aforementioned exercises must be done long term and on a regular basis in order to be effective. The research also pointed out that there is a close relationship between cognitive function in dementia and physical fitness.

(TR/ Phil Sweeney)

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