Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mental, Physical Activity Enhance Geriatric Cognition

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Mental, Physical Activity Enhance Geriatric Cognition

Article excerpt

FROM JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE

A group of sedentary older adults with complaints of memory impairment experienced enhanced cognitive function after a 12-week program of mental and physical activity, as did members of a control group not engaged in such activity said Deborah E. Barnes, Ph.D., of the department of psychiatry and the department of epidemiology and biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, and her associates.

These findings suggest that the amount of activity may be more important than the type of activity in improving cognitive function, since all the study groups participated in some form of activity for 60 minutes per day, 3 days per week, for 12 weeks, the investigators reported.

Or the results may simply indicate that repeated testing of cognitive function itself improves performance on those tests, the investigators noted.

Dr. Barnes and her colleagues assessed four combinations of cognitive and physical activity in 126 community-dwelling people aged 65 years and older (mean age, 73 years) who had normal cognition but who reported that their memory or thinking skills had worsened recently.

The participants were randomly assigned to receive a home-based intensive mental activity or a home-based control mental activity plus a group intensive exercise intervention or a group control intervention.

The mental-activity intervention was a series of computer games that enhanced both speed and accuracy of visual and auditory processing. …

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