Exercise for cognition and behaviour in dementia

...which cognitive functions are improved, and which patients respond best?

Decline in cognitive function can be categorised as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or mild, moderate or severe dementia. Decline in cognitive function and behavioural problems are common and inter-related symptoms of dementia.

Exercise improves cognition, but most of the evidence relates to global cognition, which is a summary measure of diverse cognitive functions such as attention, executive function, memory, language and reasoning. These individual cognitive functions decline at different rates throughout the disease progression.

Knowing that exercise improves global cognition is welcome but it is also insufficient. Exercise may help some cognitive functions more than others, so patients and their healthcare professionals should know if exercise improves the specific domains of cognitive function that a patient is having problems with.


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