Blood supply boost

From our winter 2016 issue of Care and Cure magazine, find out more about a trial that suggests people with vascular dementia may benefit from regular exercise.

A small trial suggests that people with vascular dementia may benefit from regular exercise.

We know that keeping active, along with a balanced diet, is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia. A new study suggests that exercise may also benefit people who already have vascular dementia.

The study involved 70 people with vascular dementia, the second most common type of dementia. This causes problems with memory and thinking skills as a result of damage to large and small blood vessels in the brain.

Half of the people in the study took part in one-hour exercise classes three times a week for six months. The other half received information about vascular dementia and a healthy diet, but no information on physical activity.

All of the participants were tested on their overall thinking skills, executive function skills –such as planning and organising – and how well they could complete their daily activities. The people who exercised had a small improvement on the test of overall thinking skills compared to those who did not exercise. Six months after participants stopped the exercise programme, their scores were no different than those of people who did not exercise. 

Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, said, 'Although this was a small study and the benefits of exercise didn’t help those involved with daily decision making or activities, it is promising to see researchers focusing on important issues around exercise. 

‘We need to know more about who it can benefit, what kind of exercise works, and how to encourage people to take it up and keep it up.'

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