“Prevention is Better than Cure”: Can Exercise Prevent Dementia?

  • Jenny Laura Rutten Maastricht University
Keywords: Dementia, physical exercise, memory, neurogenesis, hippocampus


Neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia are among the ones for which no cure is found yet. Nevertheless, physical exercise in older adults has shown to be beneficial for enhancement of cognitive functions such as memory and learning. The underlying mechanism of these beneficial effects is suggested to be neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus, a brain structure essential for memory function. It is suggested that physical exercise and therewith neurogenesis can work as preventing factors for dementia. This paper examines whether physical exercise can prevent dementia. Despite the evidence for improvement of cognitive functioning and neurogenesis after physical exercise, this paper highlights a gap of knowledge in this field with regards to evidence and research on neurogenesis in humans.