Effects of 12-Week Resistance Exercise on Electroencephalogram Patterns and Cognitive Function in the Elderly With Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the effects of a 12-week resistance exercise program with an elastic band on electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns and cognitive function in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Design:

Randomized controlled trial.

Setting:

Community center.

Participants:

Twenty-two subjects with MCI and 25 healthy volunteer subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups: subjects with MCI who undertook the exercise program (MCI-EX; n = 10), an MCI control group (MCI-Con; n = 12), a healthy volunteer exercise group (NG-EX; n = 12), and a healthy volunteer control group (NG-Con; n = 13).

Intervention:

The exercise group engaged in a 15-repetition maximum (15RM; 65% of 1RM) resistance exercise program for 12 weeks.

Main Outcome Measures:

Electroencephalograms, neuropsychological tests, and Senior Fitness Test.

Results:

The 12-week 15RM (65% of 1RM) resistance exercise program significantly improved variables related to the physical fitness of the elderly subjects. Furthermore, for the EEG test, the MCI and NG groups showed significant differences at baseline in relative beta waves on electrodes Fp1 (P < 0.05) and F3 (P < 0.05), as well as in relative beta2 waves on F3 (P < 0.05). In addition, after the 12-week exercise intervention, differences in a region that benefits from exercise were observed between (1) the MCI-EX group in the relative theta power on F3 (P < 0.05) and the relative alpha power on T3 (P < 0.05) and in (2) the NG-EX group in the relative theta power on P3 (P < 0.05) and P4 (P < 0.01). In addition, only the score of the digit span backward in the MCI-EX group changed significantly (P < 0.05).

Conclusions:

The 12-week resistance exercise with an elastic band had a positive effect on EEG patterns in elderly subjects with MCI, along with providing physical benefits and slight changes in cognitive function in MCI-EX group.

Significance:

A 15RM resistance exercise program can be an effective treatment for delaying cognitive decline and improving physical fitness.

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