NeuroExercise: The Effect of a 12-Month Exercise Intervention on Cognition in Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial

Tim Stuckenschneider, Marit L. Sanders, Kate E. Devenney, Justine A. Aaronson, Vera Abeln, Jurgen A. H. R. Claassen, Emer Guinan, Brian Lawlor, Romain Meeusen, Christian Montag, Marcel G. M. Olde Rikkert, M. Cristina Polidori, Martin Reuter, Ralf-Joachim Schulz, Tobias Vogt, Bernd Weber, Roy P. C. Kessels, Stefan Schneider

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungBegutachtung


Exercise intervention studies in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD), have demonstrated inconsistent yet promising results. Addressing the limitations of previous studies, this trial investigated the effects of a 12-month structured exercise program on the progression of MCI. The NeuroExercise study is a multicenter randomized controlled trial across three European countries (Ireland, Netherlands, Germany). Hundred and eighty-three individuals with amnestic MCI were included and were randomized to a 12-month exercise intervention (3 units of 45 min) of either aerobic exercise (AE; n = 60), stretching and toning exercise (ST; n = 65) or to a non-exercise control group (CG; n = 58). The primary outcome, cognitive performance, was determined by an extensive neuropsychological test battery. For the primary complete case (CC) analyses, between-group differences were analyzed with analysis of covariance under two conditions: (1) the exercise group (EG = combined AE and ST groups) compared to the CG and (2) AE compared to ST. Primary analysis of the full cohort (n = 166, 71.5 years; 51.8% females) revealed no between-group differences in composite cognitive score [mean difference (95% CI)], 0.12 [(−0.03, 0.27), p = 0.13] or in any cognitive domain or quality of life. VO2 peak was significantly higher in the EG compared to the CG after 12 months [−1.76 (−3.39, −0.10), p = 0.04]. Comparing the two intervention groups revealed a higher VO2peak level in the aerobic exercise compared to the stretching and toning group, but no differences for the other outcomes. A 12-month exercise intervention did not change cognitive performance in individuals with amnestic MCI in comparison to a non-exercise CG. An intervention effect on physical fitness was found, which may be an important moderator for long term disease progression and warrants long-term follow-up investigations.Clinical Trial Registration:, identifier: NCT02913053.
ZeitschriftFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Seiten (von - bis)1-12
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 14.01.2021