A new study published online at the website for BMJ Journals suggests that older adults with vascular cognitive impairment could see an improvement in their cognition by doing something millions of people do every day anyway–walking.
Vascular cognitive impairment, or VCI, is the second most common type of cognitive dysfunction. It is caused by cerebrovascular disease, in which the arteries that supply blood to the brain do not work as well as they should.
In this study researchers looked at the potential benefits of moderate aerobic activities like brisk walking for older adults who had been previously diagnosed with a form of VCI known as mild subcortical ischaemic VCI, or SIVCI.
What the scientists did was to put those adults into one of two groups. One group simply continued to follow their doctors’ existing orders; the other group spent one hour a day, three times a week, in a structured aerobic walking class.
At the end of the study, the group that had been in the walking program showed what the researchers called “significantly improved” results when given what is called the Eriksen flanker task test.
This study was funded, in part, by Canadian Stroke Network and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.