Well, you might as well just pack me in ice and thaw me out when medicine comes to its senses because this article “Can Exercise Worsen Dementia?” is truly scraping the barrel. At a time in our culture when we know that exercise is important on so many levels, now doubt is thrown into the mix.
I think the only way exercise can worsen dementia is if you sweat out important minerals. And sure enough the study called for “vigorous exercise.” Of course the investigators are at a loss to explain their findings. That’s because they never, ever look at the whole picture. And the whole picture is that 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium and sweating out more through exercise can tip you over the edge. It’s only commonsense! But nothing about modern medicine makes any sense anymore.
The researchers admit that the difference was small but statistically significant. But they still want to instill fear as they say “…at this point, vigorous exercise might be damaging for people.” Boom, with faulty data and erroneous conclusions they’ve given people permission to not exercise and actually to fear exercise. They also admit that such studies can’t prove cause and effect.
Many previous studies showed improvement in dementia and mild cognitive impairment with exercise so the Mayo Clinic website advised that “Exercising several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may… improve memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.”
In this 12-month study, the patients improved their fitness compared with the usual-care group. But the Medscape article reported that when it “came to cognitive function, the researchers recorded abysmal results.” What is their criteria for such an unscientific term as abysmal? On a cognition scale where patients perform tasks apparently the “usual-care” group went from 21.4 to 23.8, a worsening of 2.4 points and the exercisers went from a score of 21.2 to 25.2, a worsening of 4.0.
I really don’t know if a worsening of 4 compared to 2.4 is all that abysmal. The researchers said that the difference was statistically significant (P =.03) but they said it wasn’t clear whether it has clinical significance. So, there may be a difference in the two groups but the study doesn’t have any clue as to why this is occurring so unfortunately they just end up saying exercise is bad for dementia.
And doctors will pass on this information as if it is gospel. One researcher said he now tells them that exercise won’t help with such core features of dementia as memory or the ability to organize oneself, and that it might actually do damage! He theorized that already weakened brains might be too fragile to withstand the temporary loss of oxygen that comes with vigorous exercise! I think my suggestion that worsening magnesium deficiency plays a role is much more sensible and likely accurate.
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Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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