Exercise may help improve the life of people affected with dementia, a new study says.
The study reported in The Cochrane Library highlighted the role of exercise in boosting cognitive function in patients suffering from the brain disorder, while improving their ability to carry out daily activities.
The study is the update of a 2008 review published in the same journal. The new study looked at 329 Dementia patients, through eight trials.
Sparing some time for exercise was associated with better cognitive functioning and improvement in the patients' ability to perform activities like walking for a short distance or getting up from the chair. However, the authors couldn't find any solid evidence to prove that exercise can also be beneficial in treating depression among the patients.
"In our previous review, we were unable to draw any conclusions about the effectiveness of exercise in older people with dementia, due to a shortage of appropriate trials," researcher, Dorothy Forbes, an Associate Professor of Nursing who works at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, said in a news release. "Following this new review, we are now able to conclude that there is promising evidence for exercise programs improving cognition and the ability to carry out daily activities."
Health experts welcomed the findings and referred it as significant. "We do know that exercise is an important part of keeping healthy, and though we can't say that exercise will prevent dementia, evidence does suggest it can help reduce the risk of the condition as part of a healthy lifestyle," Dr Laura Phipps, from the Alzheimer's Research UK, told BBC.
Dementia is a syndrome related to the brain that leads to memory loss, difficulty in communicating, thinking, understanding, judgment, planning and the ability to perform daily routines. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 35.6 million people around the world are affected with dementia and nearly 7.7 million new cases are reported every year.