- Among older adults with cognitive impairment with no dementia (CIND) and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, 6 months of aerobic exercise was associated with persistently better executive function a year after the intervention ended.
- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) also had some benefits.
Why this matters
- CIND is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia.
- Unclear whether initial benefit of exercise on executive function is sustained.
- At 1 year, executive function is still better:
- In exercise vs nonexercise groups (Cohen’s d, 0.27; P=.041).
- In DASH vs non-DASH groups (Cohen’s d, 0.20; P=.054).
- Change from baseline in executive function:
- Exercise: +5 years;
- DASH diet: +5 years;
- Combination: +7.9 years; and
- Control: –0.7 years.
- Six-minute walk distance remained better in exercise vs nonexercise groups (P=.009).
- Composite CVD risk remained lower in DASH vs non-DASH groups (P=.016).
- Vs control, exercise-DASH combination yielded better:
- Executive functioning (P<.001>
- Clinical Dementia Rating-Sum of Boxes score (P=.011).
- Randomized controlled trial, 160 sedentary older adults with CIND, ≥1 additional CVD risk factor (ENLIGHTEN trial).
- 6 months:
- Aerobic exercise (35 minutes; 3 times weekly),
- DASH diet counseling (weekly then biweekly),
- Combination, and
- Control (health education by telephone weekly then biweekly).
- Main outcome: neurocognitive battery.
- Funding: NIH.
- Single trial site.
- Smaller sample.