Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dementia News

The January, 2010 issue of Archives of Neurology has some articles I find of interest.

MCI and Exercise

There were 2 articles on MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) and the effects of exercise. The first, from the Puget Sound VA, was a controlled trial of 33 men and women, testing aerobic exercise vs only stretching. Women were more likely to see benefit from this, especially with tests of executive function (more or less products of the frontal lobes).

The second article was a population-based study, in other words, taking a group of people with or without cognitive impairment, then seeing how they may differ, in this case in regard to exercise. Like some other studies, this one too showed that those with better cognition were more likely to carry out some form of moderate exercise on a regular basis. These kinds of studies always have questions about what is the cause of what -- are you more likely to avoid dementia by exercising, or more likely to exercise if you do not have dementia? One has to suspect a bit of both is true.

Does donepezil slow Alzheimer's progression?

Donepezil is the generic name for Aricept, widely used these days, not only in diagnosed Alzheimer's disease, but also by some for MCI, with the idea that it might forestall the development of Alzheimer's. This study used processed MRI images to follow the volume of the hippocampi (structures in the brain that have to do with memory formation) at a 2-year interval. No apparent effect of donepezil was seen, however.

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