Aerobic exercise in combination with medication may help improve schizophrenics’ overall brain functioning better than medication alone, according to a recent study.

In the study, published recently in Schizophrenia Bulletin, University of Manchester scientist Joseph First compiled data from 10 independent trials involving a total of 385 patients with schizophrenia.

He suggests that around 12 weeks of aerobic exercise can significantly improve the patients’ brain functioning, according to a media release from the University of Manchester.

The areas that were most improved via exercise, according to the release, were the patients’ ability to understand social situations, their attention spans, and their “working memory”—or how much information they can hold in mind at one time.

The study notes that the programs that used greater amounts of exercise, and those that were most successful for improving fitness, had the greatest effects on the patients’ cognitive functioning.

“We are searching for new ways to treat these aspects of the illness, and now research is increasingly suggesting that physical exercise can provide a solution,” First states in the release.

“Using exercise from the earliest stages of the illness could reduce the likelihood of long-term disability, and facilitate full, functional recovery for patients,” he adds.

[Source(s): University of Manchester, Science Daily]