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Lifestyle, Physical Activity and Cognitive Functions: the impact on the scores of Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCa).

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


The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is a rapid screening tool, including subtests to assess several cognitive domains, developed to detect MCI from normal ageing cognitive changes. Several validation and normative studies have conducted around the world considering the influences of age and education on the MoCA score, but none takes into account the lifestyle and habits. However, lifestyles, and particularly physical activity (PA) have been positively associated with both physical and mental health in elderly. The aim of the present study is to investigate the influence of regularly practiced PA on the MoCA scores in a sample of Italian healthy elderly males. For this purpose sixty-five healthy adult males, aged 65-81 years were assigned to two groups, physically active group (PAG, N=33), and sedentary group (SG, N=32), according to recommended levels of physical activity by the World Health Organization. The Italian version of MoCA was administered to each participant. Raw data were analysed by a multiple regression model in which the independent variables were PA, age and education. Results showed a highly significant influence of PA on MoCA total score and on several cognitive domain sub-scores. Furthermore, multiple regression analysis indicated a larger impact on scores by PA than both age and education. In the light of these findings, it is advisable to pay attention to the life style of subject that undergoing a neuropsychological evaluation like the MoCa and in particular the level of PA practiced, as well as age and education.


MoCA; aerobic exercise; cognitive function; mild cognitive impairment; neuropsychological test

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