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Exercise Boosts Brain Function Among Stroke Survivors

Posted Nov 03 2012 10:08pm
Posted on Nov. 1, 2012, 6 a.m. in Stroke Brain and Mental Performance Exercise

In that people who have cognitive deficits after stroke have a threefold risk of mortality, and they're more likely to be institutionalized, Susan Marzolini, from the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Canada), and colleagues studied 41 stroke survivors, of whom 70% had mild to moderate walking problems requiring a cane or walker, who followed an adapted aerobic and strength/resistance training program five days a week. Exercises designed to imitate daily life included walking, lifting weights and doing squats.  The research team found "significant improvements" in overall brain function at the conclusion of the program, with the most improvement in attention, concentration, planning and organizing. Muscular strength and walking ability also increased.  The lead author comments that: "these results provide compelling evidence that by improving cardiovascular fitness through aerobic exercise and increasing muscle mass with resistance training, people with stroke can improve brain health."

Marzolini et al., "The effects of an aerobic and resistance exercise training program on cognition following stroke." Presented at Canadian Stroke Congress, 1 October 2012.

  
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64 – A Healthy Curiosity
Researchers from the University of Alberta (Canada) found in 2005 that for 90% of the population, keeping the brain sharp as we age can be as simple as being and staying mentally inquisitive. The team found that people who are curious at a young age are more likely to be mentally active, and stay that way, as they age. In addition, people in their 70s and 80s who started incorporating activities to improve mental capacity at those ages could enjoy similar benefits to brain health. Some of the best activities that keep the mind active and curious include: reading, traveling, memorizing poetry, playing card games, doing crossword puzzles, learning how to play a musical instrument, taking classes, and surfing the Internet.
 
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