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A 12-Week Physical and Cognitive Exercise Program Can Improve Cognitive Function and Neural Efficiency in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

To investigate whether a 12-week physical and cognitive exercise program can improve cognitive function and brain activation efficiency in community-dwelling older adults.

Design

Randomized controlled trial.

Setting

Kyoto, Japan.

Participants

Community-dwelling older adults (N = 48) were randomized into an exercise group (n = 24) and a control group (n = 24).

Intervention

Exercise group participants received a weekly dual task–based multimodal exercise class in combination with pedometer-based daily walking exercise during the 12-week intervention phase. Control group participants did not receive any intervention and were instructed to spend their time as usual during the intervention phase.

Measurements

The outcome measures were global cognitive function, memory function, executive function, and brain activation (measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging) associated with visual short-term memory.

Results

Exercise group participants had significantly greater postintervention improvement in memory and executive functions than the control group (P < .05). In addition, after the intervention, less activation was found in several brain regions associated with visual short-term memory, including the prefrontal cortex, in the exercise group (P < .001, uncorrected).

Conclusion

A 12-week physical and cognitive exercise program can improve the efficiency of brain activation during cognitive tasks in older adults, which is associated with improvements in memory and executive function.

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