Aerobic Exercise Improves Cognitive Functioning in Schizophrenia, Systematic Review Coupled with Meta-Data Analysis Shows

Aerobic exercise can significantly help people coping with the long-term mental health condition schizophrenia, according to a new study from University of Manchester (UK) researchers and colleagues. Through combining data from ten independent clinical trials with a total of 385 patients with schizophrenia, the authors found that approximately twelve weeks of aerobic exercise training can significant improve patients' brain functioning. The study by the University of Manchester’s Joseph Firth, Dr. Brendon Stubbs, and Professor Alison Yung, and colleagues, was published online on August 11, 2016 in Schizophrenia Bulletin, the world's leading journal on schizophrenia and one of the leading periodicals in the field of psychiatry. The open-access article is titled “Aerobic Exercise Improves Cognitive Functioning in People with Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Schizophrenia's acute phase is typified by hallucinations and delusions, which are usually treatable with medication. However, most patients are still troubled with pervasive so-called “cognitive deficits,” including poor memory, impaired information processing, and loss of concentration. The new analysis showed that patients who are treated with aerobic exercise programs, such as the use of treadmills and exercise bikes, in combination with their medication, will improve their overall brain functioning more than will those treated with medications alone. The areas that were most significantly improved by exercising were patients' ability to understand social situations, their attention spans, and their “working memory”- or, i.e., how much information they can hold in their minds at one time.
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