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Aerobic exercise effects upon cognition in Alzheimer’s Disease: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

D. M. Cammisuli, A. Innocenti, J. Fusi, F. Franzoni, C. Pruneti


Background. Previous reviews and meta-analysis have shown that physical activity has positive effects on cognition in healthy elderly as well as in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment, even if with a minor effect whereas less is known about the effectiveness of aerobic exercise in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Objectives. The aim of the present study was to systematically review the evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) designed to evaluate aerobic exercise effects upon cognition in AD patients.

Methods. PubMed, Cochrane, Web of Science and DARE databases were analytically searched for RCTs including aerobic exercise interventions for AD patients.
Results. There is scarce evidence that aerobic exercise improves cognition in AD patients. Overall, the included studies reported only positive effects for patients’global cognition after intervention, mainly due to a lack of accurate neuropsychological assessment of each cognitive domain. Whether the bene ts of exercise are evident in all stages of AD pathology remain also uncertain.

Conclusions. Standardized protocols, larger and more rigorous RCTs with long-term follow-ups may provide better insight into the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive deterioration characterizing people with AD.


Alzheimer’s disease; aerobic exercise; cognition; non-pharmacological intervention; randomized controlled trial

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