Cognition, Aging, and Exercise Lifespan University of West GA Kimberly Sheppard Problem: Cognition Decline in Older Adults In 2010 the Alzheimer's Association stated that the total estimated cost per year for the care of patients with dementia reached $172 billion (Weinstein & Erickson, 2011). At the age of Fifty-five and above, the general population can expect to lose 1 to 2 percent annually in their memory area, or the hippocampal (Weinstein & Erickson, 2011). This amazing amount will only increase as the baby boomers age group continue to age. The question is, what can be done to help as there is no guaranteed treatment at this time? (Anderson-Hanley, et al., 2010). The Impact of Exercise on Cognitive Functioning The Stein Institute for Research on Aging frequently provides conferences with guest speakers and Dr. Amy Jak, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California recently spoke on the impact of exercise on cognitive functioning. Dr. Jak discussed some behavioral interventions that adults do have control over; one of those being exercise. Her goal is to keep people towards the normal aging spectrum and not have them move towards dementia. Her prediction is that if we do not come up with better interventions then in 2050 around 14 million older adults will have Alzheimer’s disease (SIRA, 2008). The overall converging evidence across the lifespan, both from animal and human studies, lead to the belief that exercise does contribute to improved cognitive function in older adults compared to adults that are more sedentary. fMRI results also showed and improved cognitive function (SIRA, 2008). Also noted (SIRA, 2008): 1. Regularly scheduled physical activities promote even stronger results. 2. The connection between aging women and physical activity is stronger than the connection between men and physical activity. Connection Between Aging Women, Exercise and Cognition Looking at women specifically, one study of 2,736 women in their 80s, without evidence of dementia showed improved cognition with exercise (Barnes, Blackwell, Stone, Goldman, Hillier, & Yaffe, 2008). Women were measured using a watch like device that measured the women’s activity level over a period of time. The women were tested prior to the study and then post study as well and again the study showed improved cognition (Barnes, et al., 2008). Although the women in this study were overall affected in the positive with improved cognition this again is not to say that men are not also positively affected. In Successful Aging Through the lifespan, specifically in chapter four, it looks at the importance of exercise (both physically and cognitively) across the lifespan and how it helps especially senior adults. The thought is that since senior adults are already on a decline cognitively that with the exercise helps to counteract this to some degree and instead of such a decline they instead with stand this decline and instead even improve cognitively (Wykle, Whitehouse, & Morris, 2005). Dr. Amy Jak, even went so far as to say that exercise would help to fortify the cognitive area of the brain and help it recover from slight injuries (SIRA, 2008). Continual Exercise Prevents Aging-Related Cognitive Decline On a longer trial basis, another randomized study of 120 adults between the ages of 65-74 demonstrated that their was a definite connection between continual exercise and improved cognition. This study looked at the individuals in the study for a 12-month period, within the a group gym method for 3 hours per week. There was a base-line test (Mini Mental State Examination) completed and then another at the end of the test. At the end of the year the adults that were part of the treatment group were significantly improved, while the control group showed a decline in their MMSM score (Muscari, Giannoni, Pierpaoli, Berzigotti, Maietta, Foschi, Ravaioli, Poggiopollini, Bianchi, Magalotti, Tentoni, & Zoli, 2010). Further Research Further research has been completed in the area of which type of physical activity is most affective. The fMRI scans below show the average scan. The blue area is the negative and shows the area for low fit individuals and the orange is the positive activation for high fit individuals. Looking at the x numbers below. The numbers for the physical fitness are lower than those for motor fitness. Each area deals with cognition and “activation patterns associated with motor and physical fitness seem to point to a very close connection as well as interdependency between different cortical networks” (Voelcker-Rehage, Godde, & Staudinger 2010). Physical Fitness Motor Fitness X=-9 X=-25 X=-12 X=-51 In Conclusion In conclusion, exercise does improve cognition in all ages but in elderly adults exercise proves especially helpful not only to keep physical mobility fluid but also cognitively to halt decline in cognition loss (Wykle, Whitehouse, & Morris, 2005). It also continues to improve the level of cognition that they currently have, at a time when cognition typically only declines. There is still some question about the amount of time and exercise level that is required but the general consensus is that any amount helps but higher levels of aerobic exercise provide the most benefit. This is again because it provides the most oxygen to the brain (SIRA, 2008). It is also more effective in women and groups of individuals but again all can be helped by exercising. References O O O O Anderson-Hanley, C. C., Nimon, J.P., & Westen, S.C. (2010). Cognitive health benefits of strengthening exercise for communitydwelling older adults. Journal Of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 32(9), 996-1001. doi: 10.1080/13803391003662702 O This looks at community-dwelling older adults. In one of the other sources, Dr. Jak discussed how individuals are more successful with exercise and the benefits if they are in group exercise so I searched to find research on this specific area. This study showed excellent results for the individuals that were a part of it. Barnes, D.E., Blackwell, T., Stone, K.L., Goldman, S.E., Hillier, T., & Yaffe, K. (2008). Cognition in older women: The importance of daytime movement. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 56(9), 1658-1664. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.01841.x O This study looked specifically at the effect on women of exercise, another area mentioned by Dr. Jak. The test group itself looked at over 2,000 women so it was not just a small group. Several of the sources discussed how the cognitive benefits were higher for women and this article looked specifically at this. Muscari, A., Giannoni, C., Pierpaoli, L., Berzigotti, A., Maietta, P., Foschi, E., Ravaioli, C., Poggiopollini, G., Bianchi, G., Magalotti, D., Tentoni, C., & Zoli, M. (2010). Chronic endurance exercise training prevents aging-related cognitive decline in healthy older adults: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal Of Geriatric Psychiatry, 25(10), 1055-1064. doi: 10.1002/gps.2462 O This provided a 12-month random study. Some of the other studies were more specific and looked at specific people groups, while this one was broader in scope. Also several other studies were shorter in duration and this one was looking at the same test groups for a year long period and tracking their improvements. Stein Institute for Research on Aging (SIRA) (2008). The impact of exercise on cognitive functioning [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KErDaX7uqA&feature=youtu.be O This video is provided by Stein Institute for Research on Aging, a part of the University of California San Diego. It is a seminar from Dr. Amy Jak and provides an overview of her explanation of the importance of exercise on cognitive function in aging. She uses a longitudinal study and demonstrates the long term effects of exercise. The reason this one was used for this project was that it does provide a verbal example in the researchers own words about her study. References O O O Voelcker-Rehage, C. M., Godde, B., & Staudinger, U.M. (2010). Physical and motor fitness are both related to cognition in old age. European Journal Of Neuroscience, 31(1), 167-176. doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.07014.x O This article provided an excellent study to look at but also very descriptive quantitative data. The fMRI scans are rarely seen in research so this was a particular gem, if for no other reason than seeing the average fMRI scans. It was very numerical and visual for those that require a more logical and visual view to learn from new information. Weinstein, A. M., & Erickson, K. I. (2011). Healthy body equals healthy mind. Generations, 35(2), 92-98. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.proxygsuwgc1.galileo.usg.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=80e253dd-023c-422e-b100b7a3be9db7f5%40sessionmgr14&vid=2&hid=17 O Although some of the language used in this article requires some experience, overall, Weinstein and Erikson provide a very user friendly article. They suggest that people of any age will benefit from exercising for the cognitive benefit. This article a basic overview which was helpful to look at before going to other articles. Wykle, M., Whitehouse, P., & Morris, D. (2005). Successful aging through the life span: Intergenerational issues in health. New York : Springer Pub. Co. O This book provides an excellent overall explanation about aging across the lifespan. Specifically in chapter four it details the importance of exercise on cognitive function. I thought it was very interesting the way that it looked at many broader areas of the lifespan and not just one particular area.