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Exercise Might Help Delay Dementia, Study Says

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The American Academy of Neurology released new guidelines claiming that regular exercise may help improve cognitive abilities and boost memory, potentially postponing the onset of dementia.

There are no medications available to combat brain deterioration, to prevention remains the best cure for now – this includes actively keeping symptoms from getting worse, Tech Times reports.

Around 2.4 million Americans suffer from mild cognitive impairment. By 2060, the number is expected to increase to at least 5.7 million. In order to keep the numbers from going up, the American Academy of Neurology recommends regular exercise for people suffering from MCI.

The organization stated that doctors should recommend to patients with MCI that they exercise regularly as part of the program to manage symptoms. Six-month studies have shown that working out at least two times a week could actually help improve memory.

Ronald C. Petersen, the lead author of the study from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and a fellow of the AAN, said,

It’s exciting that exercise may help improve memory at this stage, as it’s something most people can do and of course it has overall health benefits.

Petersen said that 150 minutes of exercise in a week, even light aerobics or just walking, is enough for people who are beginning to experience MCI. “If we can push it back two, three, five, years, that’s a big deal,” he added.

Mild cognitive impairment should not be confused with dementia, though. People with MCI are still able to carry out routine, everyday tasks like dressing themselves or preparing their own meals. What they do have trouble with are things like remembering where they left small items or dates and times of meetings.

But MCI can lead to dementia and worse, Alzheimer’s disease. Various studies have also pointed to other methods that could possibly help delay dementia, such as eating vegetables or playing video games.

The guidelines were published in the journal Neurology.

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