An exploratory randomized sub-study of light-to-moderate intensity exercise on cognitive function, depression symptoms and inflammation in older adults with heart failure

Laura S. Redwine, Meredith A. Pung, Kathleen Wilson, Katherine J. Bangen, Lisa Delano-Wood, Barry Hurwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: Almost half of patients with heart failure (HF) have cognitive impairment. While exercise relates to better cognitive health, a hallmark of HF is exercise intolerance. The study objective was to explore whether light-to-moderate exercise improves cognitive function in patients with HF. Methods: This was an exploratory parallel design study of 69 patients with symptomatic HF (mean age = 65, SD = 10), recruited from VA and University of California, San Diego Healthcare Systems. Participants were randomized to Tai Chi (TC) (n = 24), resistance band (RB) exercise (n = 22) or treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 23). The primary outcome was change in Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores. We further explored if changes in Beck Depression Inventory – IA (BDI-IA) scores or inflammation biomarkers, CRP, TNFα and IL-6 related to altered cognitive function. Results: There was a fixed effect of group for MoCA scores changes (F = 8.07, p = .001). TC and RB groups had greater MoCA score increases versus TAU, but no differences were found between TC and RB. Depression symptom changes predicted altered MoCA scores (ΔR2 = 0.15, Β = −0.413, p = .001). However, group did not interact with depression symptom levels for MoCA alterations (p = .392). Changes in CRP levels predicted MoCA scores (ΔR2 = 0.078, Β = −0.283, p = .01), but group did not interact with CRP levels for MoCA alterations (p = .689). Conclusions: Light-to-moderate exercises, TC and RB may improve cognitive function. However, the mechanisms remain unclear. NCT01625819

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109883
JournalJournal of Psychosomatic Research
StatePublished - Jan 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this