Neuroexercise: The effects of an extensive exercise program on the progression of mild cognitive impairment (MCI)


Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Disease (JPND)

A lack of physical exercise plays a major role in the pathophysiology of vascular, metabolic, and metastatic diseases. Regular physical exercise has been successfully proven to counteract this deconditioning. Human and animal studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity targets brain function by increasing cognitive reserve. There is also evidence of structural changes caused by exercise in preventing or delaying the genesis of neurodegeneration. A considerable number of studies have targeted the effects of physical activity on functional and structural brain changes in patients at greater risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Epidemiological studies have shown that leisure-time physical activity at midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia and AD later in life. Although initial studies indicate enhanced behavioural performance in dementia patients after three months of exercise, little is known about the effect of an extensive, controlled and regular exercise regimen on the progressive neuropathology of cognitive impairment with and without dementia.

This project aims to determine the effects of an extensive exercise program in the prodromal phase of AD, known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with respect to the progression of the disease. 225 previously sedentary patients with diagnosed MCI will undergo a standardized one-year extensive aerobic exercise intervention (3 units

Award Date
07 November 2014
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Brian Lawlor
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Joint Programming Initiative in Neurodegenerative Diseases