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46. Strong Evidence That Exercise Is Good for the Mind

Although it is common sense that exercise is beneficial to health, it is until now still questionable whether exercise can have obvious effect on recovering or even raising the cognitive power of the human mind. Nevertheless, a recent research undertaken by the Medical Faculty of Hong Kong University about the effect of regular exercise on the cognitive ability and long-term memory of the psychosis patients sheds light on strong evidence that exercise is good for the mind.

The following news article "Why exercise is good for the mind" was taken from today's "The Standard":



WHY EXERCISE IS GOOD FOR THE MIND
(written by Kenneth Foo in "The Standard", January 5, 2012)


Regular exercise may be effective in treating early psychosis, doctors at the University of Hong Kong claim.

Researchers at the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine found that patients who exercise show significant improvements in their learning ability and long-term memory.

"Our research clearly indicates that exercise largely benefits patients and has no side effects," clinical professor Eric Chen Yu-hai said.

Psychosis is a mental illness that is often accompanied by delusions and hallucinations, with those between 15 to 25 years old most susceptible.

It is estimated that 1 percent of the population suffers from psychosis and around 700 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Researchers say that effective treatment in the initial stages may minimize future disabilities.

While medication is the traditional treatment for the condition, it merely controls psychotic symptoms but does little to improve the cognitive abilities of patients, said Chen, the principal investigator of the study.

Drugs may even cause undesirable side effectsówranging from dizziness to decreased sexual ability or interest.

The research, the first of its kind worldwide, was carried out on 35 female patients over a 12-week period. They were evenly split into two groupsówone for exercise and the other for control. The latter were given conventional psychiatric treatment.

Patients in the exercise group took part in aerobic training sessions three times a week, with each lasting less than an hour.

Those who successfully completed the study witnessed significant enhancements in their quality of life, researcher Jessie Lin said.

Lin cited the case of a 23-year-old unemployed patient who suffered from bad memory, disorganized speech and lack of concentration.

After therapy the patient now behaves normally and is happily employed. She has also lost 10 kilograms, Lin said.

The results of the study were released in conjunction with the launch of the FitMind Movement led by the Hong Kong Early Psychosis Intervention Society.

Reseachers emphasize that for postive results, the total time spent doing aerobic exercises should not be less than three hours a week.

Chen however warned that medication is still an important part of the treatmnt as it relieves the symptoms caused by psychosis and is critical to prevent a relapse.

"Exercise should not be used to replace medication, so it's best to use both treatments concurrently," he said.

(Written on January 5, 2012)