A recent study of older adults looked at the effects of exercise on nerve connections and its connection to cognitive function such as memory, learning, and attention.
Regular exercise has long been known to improve and maintain key aspects of cognitive function such as attention, learning, and memory. It also reduces Alzheimer’s disease risk in healthy older adults.
A structure in the brain called the hippocampus is considered the seat of learning and memory. The hippocampus is located in the medial temporal lobe (MTL), a well-connected hub of brain activity that is particularly sensitive to the effects of exercise. Alzheimer’s disease is often described as a syndrome of disconnection in the brain.
Who participated in the study?
The study participants were a group of 34 African American adults ages 55 and older who were able to walk without a cane, walker, or wheelchair and safely participate in exercise. Three males and 31 females participated in the study.
Their average age was 65. They were recruited from various community sites in and around Newark, New Jersey, including churches, senior centers, and government offices for health and aging. Participants were excluded if they had mild cognitive impairment or dementia, or if they were taking any medications that could affect cognition.