Aerobic Exercise, Diet, and Neurocognition among Individuals with High Blood Pressure
In addition to the adverse effects of high blood pressure (HBP) on cardiovascular disease, HBP is also associated with increased risk of stroke, dementia, and neurocognitive dysfunction. Although aerobic exercise and dietary modifications have been shown to reduce blood pressure, no studies have examined the effects of a combined aerobic exercise and dietary intervention on neurocognition among individuals with HBP, a group at elevated risk for neurocognitive dysfunction. As part of a larger investigation, the ENCORE study, this study examined the effects of dietary modification alone and combined with aerobic exercise on neurocognitive function among individuals with HBP. One hundred twenty five individuals with high normal blood pressure were randomized to an aerobic exercise and dietary modification group (DASH + WM), dietary modification alone (DASH-A), or a usual care control group. Participants completed a battery of neurocognitive tests assessing executive function and vigilance at baseline and again following the four month intervention. Following the intervention, participants in the DASH + WM and DASH-A groups exhibited modest improvements in neurocognitive function relative to controls, and these changes appeared to be mediated by improved cardiovascular fitness and weight loss. A combined aerobic exercise and dietary intervention improves neurocognitive function among individuals with HBP.
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