Moderate exercise slows dementia's onset, study finds

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For the first time, moderate exercise has been shown to delay the onset of dementia and improve memory in seniors, according to new research from Australia.

Participants in the study were 50 years of age or older and exhibited minor memory problems, but were not diagnosed as having dementia. Of the 170 test subjects, half were asked to walk for 50 minutes a day three times a week. The control group did not engage in any exercise routine. After six months, the two groups were given cognitive function tests; the exercise group noticeably outperformed the control group.

Positive effects from the exercise could be seen even one year after the six-month follow up test. The exercise group still performed slightly better than average on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale Cognitive Subscale. Because the exercise regimes were so moderate (most seniors used walking) researchers say the study's findings have relevance for all seniors. The full report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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