Researchers want to clarify whether improving physical fitness can halt or slow down the progression of incipient dementia.
The prognosis is alarming: by 2030 it is estimated that more than 74 million people worldwide will suffer from dementia . One potential risk factor for dementia is the lack of physical activity. Thus, researchers at the German Sport University Cologne now want to find out whether physical activity and fitness are an effective therapy against the first signs of age-related dementia.
The researchers studied 121 people with beginning cognitive impairment. Depending on the severity of the cognitive problems, the participants were divided into three different groups.
The scientists divided the subjects based on the extent of their memory problems. Furthermore, a distinction was made between an early and a manifested impairment. In addition, the subjects were questioned about their physical activities and were equipped with activity monitors to allow the researchers to objectively record their movement in everyday life. Furthermore, the study participants were subjected to a fitness test on the bicycle ergometer.
The central result of the study: the fitter the subjects were and the more they moved in everyday life, the better their cognitive performance was. The researchers now want to clarify whether the current state of dementia is decisive for further development, or whether an improvement in physical fitness can halt or at least slow down the progression of incipient dementia.