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Walking improves cognitive function in patients with type 2 diabetes

Background

Physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function independent of cognitive status, and cognitive decline is one of the many complications of type 2 diabetes (T2D).[1][2] However, there is a scarcity of research examining the effect of physical activity on cognitive function in patients with T2D.

The study

In this 12-week randomized controlled trial, 49 patients with type 2 diabetes (average age of 59) were assigned to 40 minutes of walking 3 times per week (walking group), a goal of 10,000 steps per day (E-health group), or standard care (control group).

The outcomes assessed were cognitive performance measured by the FAIR-Test 2, verbal memory, nonverbal memory, body composition, VO2max, resting heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, HbA1c, and blood lipids.

The results

The walking and E-health interventions improved cognitive function and nonverbal memory compared to the control, but only the walking intervention improved verbal memory compared to the control.

Additionally, the walking intervention reduced body fat percentage and waist circumference compared to the E-health and the control interventions. Finally, the walking intervention also reduced resting heart rate and total cholesterol and improved VO2max (not statistically significant), whereas VO2max worsened in the E-health and control interventions.

Note

The authors did not specify a primary outcome, and the published paper did not include a breakdown of the statistical methods applied. Therefore, the findings should be taken with a grain of salt.

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