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Study Finds Aerobic Exercise May Help Improve Cognitive Function

Certain cognitive abilities such as conceptual reasoning, memory, and processing speed decline gradually over time. According to a new study, aerobic exercise may help increase blood flow to the brain and improve some cognitive functions in mature adults.

Participants in the study included 206 adults with an average age of 66 who were not physically active. They participated in a supervised aerobic program three days per week for 6 months. Neuropsychological tests were administered at baseline and at the end of the study to assess cognitive function. Blood flow to the brain was measured at baseline and after 6 months using Transcranial Doppler ultrasound.

The researchers found that blood flow increased by an average of 2.8%, from an average of 51.3 cm/sec to an average of 52.7 cm/sec. Participants also saw a 5.7% improvement on executive function tests and a 2.4% improvement in verbal fluency.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Calgary. It was published online ahead of print on May 13, 2020 in the journal Neurology.

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