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2 Apr 2013

Exercise brings cognitive benefits, trial shows

Clinical trial proves link between mental and physical exercise and better cognitive function.

Results from a randomised clinical trial have confirmed a link between a lack of physical and mental engagement and a faster decline in cognitive faculties.
The tests, conducted by staff members from the University of California, San Francisco, included 126 inactive senior people from across the globe with cognitive complaints and encouraged them to engage in home based mental and physical activity.
"We found that cognitive scores improved significantly over the course of 12 weeks, but there were no significant differences between the intervention and active control groups," confirmed Deborah Barnes, a leading author of the study.
She added that global cognitive functions appeared to have improved over time, although the scientists could not pin down a variation between those ignoring part of the exercise and those conducting both sets of exercises.
The study is all the more important as an epidemic of dementia is anticipated worldwide over the next 40 years due to longer life expectancies and demographic changes.

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