Updated Guidelines Advocate Exercise for Mild Cognitive Impairment


Regular physical exercise has long been considered as a stable way for keeping one’s heart healthy. Now, exercise is gaining more significance among healthcare providers managing neurological conditions. Medical practitioners treating mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may soon, according to a recent guideline, prescribe exercise—at least twice weekly—to improve memory and other cognition abilities of the patients. The recommendation forms a key part of guidelines published online on December 27 in the journal Neurology. Of note, the practice guidelines were updated in an effort to update 2001 American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guideline on mild cognitive impairment.

The medical panels studying the prevalence of MCI suggested that medications, wherever possible, should be substituted by regular exercise, apart from recommending cognitive training. Instead of offering cholinesterase inhibitors as a part of managing functional impairment and related symptoms, clinicians monitoring MCI are encouraged to recommend exercise training for 6 months to improve conditions.

Regular Exercise to delay Onset of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

MCI, considered as a stage in between the expected decline of cognitive abilities with normal aging and the noticeably marked decline of dementia usually don’t need clinical intervention with medications. However, if left unattended, can lead to the Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and other serious neurological conditions. In a six-month study on people with age from 60 to 84 years, twice-weekly workout may prove beneficial for people with MCI as an effective strategy in disease management by delaying the rate of progression. Though in some patients, the conditions never worsen with time.

Moderate Aerobics Suggested

Among the exercises, aerobics was one of the most preferred, which may include walking briskly and jogging. Notably, the exertion level should be enough for causing sweat but not discomfort to hinder a normal conversation, concluded the study. In another guideline, clinicians are advised to discuss the diagnosis and prognosis with patients and their caregivers, including their families as a part of long-term planning. The prognosis may also consist of biomarker research options.

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