Study under review: Systematic review and meta-analysis investigating moderators of long-term effects of exercise on cognition in healthy individuals
Exercise has been associated with many benefits, including keeping the brain sharp. Whether it’s for kids at school or elderly people attempting to combat age-related cognitive decline, exercise has been shown to have small to moderate effects on different measures of cognition, such as attention, executive function, and memory.
The frustrating thing is that existing studies evaluating the cognitive benefits of exercise have demonstrated a high level of heterogeneity and only included specific types of exercises, outcomes, and/or age groups. While some specifics have been picked out—for example, a meta-analysis demonstrated greater executive function in children and older adults following a single exercise session—studies have demonstrated conflicting results.
Beyond age, other associated variables such as sex, exercise type, and dose/intensity of exercise also appear to influence or moderate the benefits of exercise on cognition. The authors of the study under review aimed to evaluate the specific impacts of different inter-individual and exercise characteristics to optimize the benefits of long term exercise on cognition. They did this by conducting a meta-regression analysis of potential moderators of the relationship between exercise and cognition as a part of a large systematic review and meta-analysis.
While studies have demonstrated a small to moderate improvement in cognitive function from exercise, a high level of heterogeneity across studies leaves uncertainty regarding the impact of various moderators (e.g., age, sex, exercise type, and exercise dose and intensity) on the relationship. This led researchers to conduct a meta-regression analysis, as a part of a systematic review and meta-analysis, on potential moderators of the relationship in an attempt to optimize exercise recommendations for maximal cognitive benefits.
Other Articles in Issue #68 (June 2020)
Supplements for blood pressure: Is zinc an option?
According to this recent meta-analysis, zinc can indeed lower blood pressure, but its effects are tiny.
Measuring the effects of meal timing on post-meal glucose using high and low GI meals
Eating foods with a higher glycemic index earlier in the day may help with glycemic control...at least in otherwise healthy people.
NERD Nulls: March-April 2020
Our latest quick summary of nutrition studies that didn't find clear evidence of an effect!
The relationship between vitamin C supplementation and exercise remains unclear
Vitamin C supplementation could reduce post-exercise inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn could boost recovery. But more evidence is needed to say whether or not this is the case.
Low calorie sweeteners: friend or foe in bodyweight management?
Swapping sugar for sweeteners is somewhat slimming sometimes.
Coffee's effect on vascular health
This meta-analysis aimed to explore the experimental evidence for coffee's impact on vascular health. However, it may have missed its mark.
Interview: Joel Fuhrman, MD
We chat with Dr. Fuhrman about his latest book, Eat for Life, and the principles of the Nutritarian diet.