Commenting on the study, which was published in the BMJ, Rob Howard, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at University College London said: “Had this been instead an improvement in cognitive functioning with exercise we would all have been excited about finding something positive in the, so far, depressing fight against dementia.
“On this basis, I don’t think we should ignore the possibility that exercise might actually be slightly harmful to people with dementia.”
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, added :“The results are somewhat surprising as we would anticipate that exercise would have positive effects.”
Around 850,000 people in Britain currently suffer from dementia and there are currently no treatments to reverse or slow down the condition. The numbers are expected to rise as the population ages.