Health Check: Using exercise to help improve brain memory

A brain wellness company is hoping exercise will help improve memory. (WJAR)

A brain wellness company is hoping exercise will help improve memory.

"I'd be in the middle of saying something and I would completely forget what I was talking about," said Leslie Smyth.

"I was noticing I wasn't as sharp as I used to be," added Edward Sousa.

Both Smyth and Sousa attend the Living Well Adult Day Care program in Pawtucket, where they enrolled in brain wellness research. The eight-week study included riding a stationary bike.

"What we try to do is try to get our patients up to a threshold of 20 minutes of endurance exercise three times a week," said Steven Langlois, who is the marketing and clinical care manager for Brain In Play International.

"We wanted to come up with a non-medication solution that would make a difference," said William Smith, who is the co-founder of the company, which is based in Warwick and designed to improve memory. "In addition to exercise, we have mindfulness, which is a deep breathing type of meditation."

They also look at sleep and patient motivation. There are also behavioral health coaches.

"We meet one-on-one with everybody on our roster at least once a week,” said Mark Iannuccilli, who is the director of behavioral health services at Brain In Play International. “And we do group work as well."

The question was: Would this multi-prong approach help improve memory?

"It was a pilot study. We had 20 volunteers," said Smith.

According to their findings, all who took part and completed the research improved.

"Yeah, big improvement -- physical and mental," said Smyth.

"This is a series of behaviors that the person has activated and interested in wanting to implement these behaviors and they're actually getting better from a quantitative point of view was very exciting," said Katharine White, co-founder and CEO of Brain In Play International.

Brain In Play International brings services to assisted living facilities and adult day care programs in Southern New England.

The company will present its research findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in London. They hope to publish their research in the fall.

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