The expression goes: “A sound mind and a sound body.” It makes sense in a lot of ways, and researchers are finding a connection between exercise and physical fitness and a person’s recovery from the cognitive dysfunction that can accompany an episode of acute mental illness, according to a recent article in Schizophrenia Bulletin. The article, by Iris E. Sommer and René S. Kahn of the Department of Psychiatry, Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, titled “The Magic of Movement; the Potential of Exercise to Improve Cognition,” discusses the effectiveness of medication to prevent cognitive dysfunction compared to the effectiveness of exercise once cognition has declined, and more specifically:
“In sharp contrast to the disappointing findings of pharmacological interventions [to restore cognitive function], are the promising results of studies assessing the potential of physical exercise to improve cognition. Both aerobic training and resistance training have the potential to improve cognition, while the combination of both yields the strongest improvement in cognitive functioning.”
The report does not recommend against pharmacological solutions to acute psychotic conditions. But it does point out that there is a strong place for physical well being in the recovery process. The Schizophrenia Bulletin is featured on Medscape, and provides a wide range of reports on research findings and conclusions. In the same issue as the subject article, for instance, is “Ethical Challenges in the Primary Prevention of Schizophrenia” and “The promise of Biological Markers for Treatment Response in First-Episode Psychosis: A Systematic Review.” Neither Medscape nor the Schizophrenia Bulletin are owned or published by NAMI.