Physical activity can improve cognitive function if you have type two diabetes

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Adapted from Diabetes in Control Aug 10 2021 by Macrina Ghali, Pharm D candidate, Florida.

Hyperglycaemia has been linked to reduced cognitive function and can impair life through impairing memory and language. Mistakes with medication are more likely. Some studies have shown that exercise can reduce the risk of dementia on the long term.

The meta-analysis sought to answer the question, does cognitive ability change from baseline, while on the exercise programme compared to the non-exercising controls? Just over 2,500 patients with diabetes were analysed, almost evenly split to control groups and exercise groups.

The exercise group did aerobic exercise, resistance exercise and non aerobic exercise. The control groups did monthly telephone calls, stretching, gentle movement and education. The interventions ranged in time from 12 months to 9.8 years and sample sizes ranged from 47 to over a thousand.

Standard tests such as the mini-mental state examination, mental state examination and global cognitive score were undertaken.

Surprisingly the study found that the greatest change in cognitive scores between both groups was in the studies done for 12 months rather than longer periods. They were not sure if this was due to patient drop out or the development of dementia. They think that more studies would need to be done to clarify the issue.

Meanwhile they think that physical activity programmes should be started soon after diagnosis of type two diabetes to prevent a worsening of cognitive functioning as time goes on.

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