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Effects of multicomponent exercise on cognitive function in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial

Takao Suzuki1*, Hiroyuki Shimada2, Hyuma Makizako2, Takehiko Doi2, Daisuke Yoshida2, Kota Tsutsumimoto2, Yuya Anan2, Kazuki Uemura2, Sangyoon Lee3 and Hyuntae Park3

Author Affiliations

1 Research Institute, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan

2 Section for Health Promotion, Department for Research and Development to Support Independent Life of Elderly, Center for Gerontology and Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan

3 Section for Physical Functioning Activation, Department of Functioning Activation, Center for Gerontology and Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Obu, Japan

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:128  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-128

Published: 31 October 2012



To examine the effects of a multicomponent exercise program on the cognitive function of older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI).


Design: Twelve months, randomized controlled trial; Setting: Community center in Japan; Participants: Fifty older adults (27 men) with aMCI ranging in age from 65 to 93 years (mean age, 75 years); Intervention: Subjects were randomized into either a multicomponent exercise (n = 25) or an education control group (n = 25). Subjects in the multicomponent exercise group exercised under the supervision of physiotherapists for 90 min/d, 2 d/wk, for a total of 80 times over 12 months. The exercises included aerobic exercises, muscle strength training, and postural balance retraining, and were conducted using multiple conditions to stimulate cognitive functions. Subjects in the control group attended three education classes regarding health during the 12-month period. Measurements were administered before, after the 6-month, and after the 12-month intervention period; Measurements: The performance measures included the mini-mental state examination, logical memory subtest of the Wechsler memory scale-revised, digit symbol coding test, letter and categorical verbal fluency test, and the Stroop color word test.


The mean adherence to the exercise program was 79.2%. Improvements of cognitive function following multicomponent exercise were superior at treatment end (group × time interactions for the mini-mental state examination (P = 0.04), logical memory of immediate recall (P = 0.03), and letter verbal fluency test (P = 0.02)). The logical memory of delayed recall, digit symbol coding, and Stroop color word test showed main effects of time, although there were no group × time interactions.


This study indicates that exercise improves or supports, at least partly, cognitive performance in older adults with aMCI.

Aerobic exercise; MCI; Elderly; Alzheimer’s disease; Prevention