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Effects of Community Exercise Therapy on Metabolic, Brain, Physical, and Cognitive Function Following Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

Lookup NU author(s): Sarah Moore, Dr Kate HallsworthORCiD, Professor Djordje JakovljevicORCiD, Professor Andrew BlamireORCiD, Dr Jiabao He, Professor Gary Ford, Professor Lynn RochesterORCiD, Professor Mike TrenellORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Background. Exercise therapy could potentially modify metabolic risk factors and brain physiology alongside improving function post stroke. Objective. To explore the short-term metabolic, brain, cognitive, and functional effects of exercise following stroke. Methods. A total of 40 participants (>50 years, >6 months post stroke, independently mobile) were recruited to a single-blind, parallel, randomized controlled trial of community-based exercise (19 weeks, 3 times/wk, exercise group) or stretching (control group). Primary outcome measures were glucose control and cerebral blood flow. Secondary outcome measures were cardiorespiratory fitness, blood pressure, lipid profile, body composition, cerebral tissue atrophy and regional brain metabolism, and physical and cognitive function. Results. Exercise did not change glucose control (homeostasis model assessment 15 +/- 08 to 15 +/- 07 vs 16 +/- 08 to 17 +/- 07, P = .97; CI = -05 to 049). Medial temporal lobe tissue blood flow increased with exercise (38 +/- 8 to 42 +/- 10 mL/100 g/min; P < .05; CI = 9.0 to 0.1) without any change in gray matter tissue volume. There was no change in medial temporal lobe tissue blood flow in the control group (41 +/- 8 to 40 +/- 7 mL/100 g/min; P = .13; CI = -3.6 to 6.7) but significant gray matter atrophy. Cardiorespiratory fitness, diastolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, physical function, and cognition also improved with exercise. Conclusion. Exercise therapy improves short-term metabolic, brain, physical, and cognitive function, without changes in glucose control following stroke. The long-term impact of exercise on stroke recurrence, cardiovascular health, and disability should now be explored.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Moore SA, Hallsworth K, Jakovljevic DG, Blamire AM, He JB, Ford GA, Rochester L, Trenell MI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Neurorehabilitation & Neural Repair

Year: 2015

Volume: 29

Issue: 7

Pages: 623-635

Print publication date: 01/08/2015

Online publication date: 23/12/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Date deposited: 12/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1545-9683

ISSN (electronic): 1552-6844

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/1545968314562116


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Funder referenceFunder name
NIHR North East Stroke Research Network
National Institute for Health Research
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre for Ageing and Age Related Disease based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University
Research Councils UK (RCUK) Newcastle Centre for Brain Ageing and Vitality
G0802536Medical Research Council
G0700718Medical Research Council
MR/K000608/1Medical Research Council
MR/K006312/1Medical Research Council
MR/K006312/1Medical Research Council
SRF-2011-04-017National Institute for Health Research