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The Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Cognitive and Neural Decline in Aging and Cardiovascular Disease.

Hayes SM, Alosco ML, Forman DE. The Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Cognitive and Neural Decline in Aging and Cardiovascular Disease. Current geriatrics reports. 2014 Dec 1; 3(4):282-290.

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Aging is characterized by a decline in cognitive functions, particularly in the domains of executive function, processing speed and episodic memory. These age-related declines are exacerbated by cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cardiovascular risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, obesity, elevated total cholesterol). Structural and functional alterations in brain regions, including the fronto-parietal and medial temporal lobes, have been linked to age- and CVD-related cognitive decline. Multiple recent studies indicate that aerobic exercise programs may slow the progression of age-related neural changes and reduce the risk for mild cognitive impairment as well as dementia. We review age- and CVD-related decline in cognition and the underlying changes in brain morphology and function, and then clarify the impact of aerobic exercise on moderating these patterns.

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