Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ., 28 June 2006
Vol. 2006, Issue 10, p. pe21
[DOI: 10.1126/sageke.2006.10.pe21]


From Bedside to Bench: Does Mental and Physical Activity Promote Cognitive Vitality in Late Life?

Stephanie Studenski, Michelle C. Carlson, Howard Fillit, William T. Greenough, Arthur Kramer, and George W. Rebok

The authors are in the School of Medicine and VA Pittsburgh GRECC, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA (S.S.); the Center on Aging and Health and the Department of Mental Health at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA (M.C.C. and G.W.R.); the Institute for the Study of Aging and the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation, New York, NY 10153, USA and The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY , 10029 USA (H.F.); the Beckman Institute and the Departments of Psychology (W.T.G and A.K.), Psychiatry, and Cell and Developmental Biology (W.T.G.) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA. E-mail: sas33{at} (S.S.)

Key Words: Alzheimer's disease • cognitive function • dementia • cognitive reserve • physical activity • exercise

Abstract: A wide range of animal and human studies provide evidence for the potential of physical and cognitive exercise in promoting cognitive health later in life. The effects of such activities on intermediate outcomes, such as cognitive performance, are becoming clearer, as are the molecular mechanisms involved. Physical and cognitive exercise might increase "cognitive reserve" and increase the overall health of the brain, thereby reducing or delaying cognitive impairment and dementia. However, conclusive evidence for such benefits is not yet established. The third annual Bedside to Bench conference, cosponsored by The American Geriatrics Society and the National Institutes of Health's National Institute on Aging, reviewed current knowledge regarding the role of physical and cognitive exercise in promoting cognitive vitality. Conference attendees identified gaps in our current understanding of these processes and recommended next steps for research. In particular, researchers will need to explore clinical issues related to the timing, intensity, and duration of various types and combinations of physical and cognitive activities in animal models to elucidate the mechanisms involved and inform the design of future human studies. The concept of the enriched environment currently employed in animal studies to promote physical activity, socialization, and problem solving should be explored in human studies.

Citation: S. Studenski, M. C. Carlson, H. Fillit, W. T. Greenough, A. Kramer, G. W. Rebok, From Bedside to Bench: Does Mental and Physical Activity Promote Cognitive Vitality in Late Life? Sci. Aging Knowl. Environ. 2006 (10), pe21 (2006).

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Science of Aging Knowledge Environment. ISSN 1539-6150