Clinical Neuroscience

Pulmonary physiotherapy and aerobic exercise programs can improve cognitive functions and functional ability

TEKESIN Aysel1, TUNC Abdulkadir2, GÜNGEN Dogan Belma3, AVCI Nalan4, BAKIS Muhammed5, PERK Seyma5

NOVEMBER 30, 2018

Clinical Neuroscience - 2018;71(11-12)


Objective - The increasing prevalence of dementia over the previous decades has been accompanied by numerous social and economic problems. The importance of exercise in the prevention of dementia coupled with the impact of aspiration pneumonia on the mortality and morbidity of dementia patients cannot be overstated. This study investigates the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation combined with aerobic stretching exercises on the cognitive function, life quality, effort capacity, and level of depression in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in the early stages of dementia. Methods - Sixty-nine patients with MCI diagnosis were routinely monitored, and six were excluded because they did not attend the follow-up appointments. The remaining 63 patients undertook pulmonary physiotherapy (PPT) and extremity exercises for six months. The mini-mental state examination (MMSE), six-minute walk test (6MWT), Nottingham health profile (NHP), and Beck depression inventory (BDI) scores were evaluated before and after exercise. Results - PPT plus extremity exercises appeared to significantly improve the MMSE scores and increase the 6MWT (p < 0.001) by an average of 25 m. No significant improvement was observed in the BDI and NHP scores. Conclusion - PPT and aerobic exercise positively affected the cognitive ability of MCI patients and improved their walking distance. These results underscore the importance of combining medical treatment with physical rehabilitation at the onset of dementia, a disease which exerts a significantly negative impact on the economy.


  1. Clinic of Neurology, Health Sciences University, İstanbul Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey
  2. Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Bezmialem Vakıf University, İstanbul, Turkey
  3. İstinye University Hospital, Rumeli University, İstanbul, Turkey
  4. Clinic of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Health Sciences University, İstanbul Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey
  5. Clinic of Psychiatry, Health Sciences University, İstanbul Training and Research Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey



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