Exercise, Cognition, and Audition
The relationship between cognition and auditory processing has received a lot of attention from researchers and clinicians addressing hearing loss. A new study in the September 3, 2008, issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) indicated that adults with memory problems were able to improve their cognitive function, secondary to a modest exercise program.
Nicola Lautenschlager, MD, (University of Melbourne, Australia) and associates evaluated 138 adult subjects older than 50 years of age. Subjects reported memory problems prior to their participation in the study, but did not have dementia. Subjects were randomly assigned to either “education and usual care” or a 24-week home-based “exercise program.” Walking was the most-often recommended exercise, usually averaging some 20 minutes per day.
The Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale — Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) was used to assess cognitive function. Upon conclusion of the study, participants in the exercise group had better ADAS-Cog scores.
The authors stated that to their knowledge, this may be the first time exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function. Of course, the advantages of exercise go beyond cognitive improvement, potentially positively impacting one's physical being, as well as often positively impacting depression and quality of life, reducing falls, improving cardiovascular function, and more.
For More Information, References and Recommendations:
Lunner & Sundewall-Thoren (2007): Interactions between Cognition, Compression and Listening Conditions. JAAA 18, 604-617.
Wingfield & Tun (2001): Spoken Language Comprehension in Older Adults. Seminars in Hearing 22, 287-301.