Exercise may improve memory in patients with mild cognitive impairment
A practice guideline released by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has recommended exercise for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as part of approach to managing symptoms. The guidelines endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association say that exercising twice a week may improve thinking ability and memory in such patients.
Mild cognitive impairment is a medical condition that is common with aging. While it is linked to problems with thinking ability and memory, it is not the same as dementia. However, there is strong evidence that MCI can lead to dementia. Hence, early diagnosis of MCI is important.
Other major recommendations include:
- Evaluation of patients with MCI for modifiable risk factors, functional impairment including behavioral/neuropsychiatric symptoms (Level B).
- Monitoring of cognitive status (Level B).
- Discontinue cognitive impairing medications should be discontinued where possible and treat behavioral symptoms (Level B).
- If clinicians choose to offer cholinesterase inhibitors, they must first discuss lack of evidence
- Cognitive training may also be recommended. There is weak evidence that cognitive training may be beneficial in improving measures of cognitive function (Level C).
- Clinicians should discuss diagnosis, prognosis, long-term planning, and the lack of effective medicine options (Level B), and may discuss biomarker research with patients with MCI and families (Level C).
The guidelines are published December 27, 2017 online in the journal Neurology.
(AAN News Release, December 27, 2017)