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Physical activity for the prevention of cognitive decline

Current evidence from observational and controlled studies

Körperliche Aktivität für die Prävention kognitiven Abbaus

Aktuelle Erkenntnisse aus Beobachtungs- und kontrollierten Studien

Abstract

A sedentary life style has been associated with different types of dementia in several cross sectional, longitudinal, and case-controlled studies. However, randomized controlled trials that support this relationship are rare, have rather few participants, and mainly focus on physical (usually aerobic) exercise. The benefit of an increased physical activity (PA) has been mainly demonstrated for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, less so for other dementia types such as Lewy body dementia or frontotemporal dementia. The clinical evidence builds on a significant amount of animal research pointing to potential mechanisms as to how PA relates to cognitive function. While most studies have investigated singular interventions, others have studied the combination of both mental and physical activity to improve cognition or delay decline. However, questions remain such as what type and how much PA is beneficial? This review gives an overview of the current evidence on the clinical and epidemiological level and tries to answer these questions.

Zusammenfassung

Bewegungsmangel wurde bereits in mehreren Querschnitt-, Längsschnitt- und Fall-Kontroll-Studien untersucht und mit unterschiedlichen Demenzformen in Verbindung gebracht. Randomisierte, kontrollierte Studien, die diesen Zusammenhang unterstützen, sind jedoch bislang selten, haben wenige Teilnehmer und konzentrieren sich vor allem auf (in der Regel aerobes) körperliches Training. Der Vorteil einer erhöhten körperlichen Aktivität wurde vor allem für die Prävention der Alzheimer-Krankheit und vaskulären Demenz gezeigt, weniger für andere Demenzformen wie die Lewy-Körperchen-Demenz oder die frontotemporale Demenz. Die klinische Evidenz baut auf einer Vielzahl an Tierstudien auf, die mögliche Mechanismen des Zusammenhangs zwischen körperlicher Aktivität und Kognition beleuchten. Während die Mehrzahl der Studien einzelne Interventionen zum Gegenstand haben, wurden zum Teil auch bereits komplexere Interventionen untersucht. Einige Fragen bleiben offen, etwa, welche Art und wie viel körperliche Aktivität sind noch von Vorteil? Diese Arbeit gibt einen Überblick über die aktuellen klinischen und epidemiologischen Erkenntnisse und versucht, diese Fragen zu beantworten.

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Acknowledgment

The authors would like to thank Maria Cristina Polidori for her support. Michael Denkinger was supported by a research fellowship program from the Robert Bosch Foundation, Stuttgart, Germany, which did not have any influence on the content

Conflicts of interest

The corresponding author states that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to M.D. Denkinger MD.

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Denkinger, M., Nikolaus, T., Denkinger, C. et al. Physical activity for the prevention of cognitive decline. Z Gerontol Geriat 45, 11–16 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-011-0262-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00391-011-0262-6

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Dementia
  • Cognition
  • Prevention
  • Review

Schlüsselwörter

  • Körperliche Aktivität
  • Demenz
  • Kognition
  • Prävention
  • Übersichtsartikel