Semantic memory functional MRI and cognitive function after exercise intervention in mild cognitive impairment
One article on PainSci cites Smith 2013: Anxiety & Chronic Pain
PainSci commentary on Smith 2013: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This brain study showed lasting improvements in cognitive function in 17 subjects with mild cognitive impairment after three months of regular easy walking on a treadmill. Specifically, they detected signs presumed to indicate more efficient semantic memory. A follow-up study in 2019 showed the beginning of that process: a spike in relevant brain activity compared to controls. This a significant contribution to “growing evidence that exercise can have rapid effects on brain function and also that these effects could accumulate and lead to long-term improvements in how our brains operate and we remember” (NY times).
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is associated with early memory loss, Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology, inefficient or ineffective neural processing, and increased risk for AD. Unfortunately, treatments aimed at improving clinical symptoms or markers of brain function generally have been of limited value. Physical exercise is often recommended for people diagnosed with MCI, primarily because of its widely reported cognitive benefits in healthy older adults. However, it is unknown if exercise actually benefits brain function during memory retrieval in MCI. Here, we examined the effects of exercise training on semantic memory activation during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Seventeen MCI participants and 18 cognitively intact controls, similar in sex, age, education, genetic risk, and medication use, volunteered for a 12-week exercise intervention consisting of supervised treadmill walking at a moderate intensity. Both MCI and control participants significantly increased their cardiorespiratory fitness by approximately 10% on a treadmill exercise test. Before and after the exercise intervention, participants completed an fMRI famous name discrimination task and a neuropsychological battery, Performance on Trial 1 of a list-learning task significantly improved in the MCI participants. Eleven brain regions activated during the semantic memory task showed a significant decrease in activation intensity following the intervention that was similar between groups (p-values ranged 0.048 to 0.0001). These findings suggest exercise may improve neural efficiency during semantic memory retrieval in MCI and cognitively intact older adults, and may lead to improvement in cognitive function. Clinical trials are needed to determine if exercise is effective to delay conversion to AD.
- “Exercise is Medicine for Concussion,” Leddy et al, Curr Sports Med Rep, 2018.
Specifically regarding Smith 2013:
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- Is there a relationship between throbbing pain and arterial pulsations? Mirza 2012 J Neurosci.