HealthDay News — Exercising may delay brain deterioration in people at high risk for Alzheimer disease, according to a proof-of-concept study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Takashi Tarumi, PhD, from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, and colleagues randomly assigned 70 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) to 12 months of aerobic exercise training (AET) or stretching and toning (SAT; active control) interventions. The California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition and the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System were used to assess neuropsychological outcomes.

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The researchers found that memory and executive function performance improved over time but did not differ between the groups. There were no differences between the groups with respect to brain volume decreases and precuneus amyloid-β plaque deposition increases over time. The AET group had significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness compared with the SAT group. AET was associated with reduced hippocampal atrophy in amyloid-positive patients compared with the SAT group.

“The AET and SAT groups both showed evidence of slightly improved neuropsychological scores in previously sedentary aMCI patients,” the authors write.

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