Sunday, 24 March, 2019


Exercise may not help combat mental decline in dementia patients

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Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2018, 01:33

"'Surprising' study suggests exercise may make dementia worse", reports The Daily Telegraph.

Exercise has a reputation for helping to keep older people healthy, but a new study has found that playing video games combined with expercise - so-called "exergaming" - could help in the fight to stave off dementia. We used a very specialized exercise program. They said they can not exclude the possibility that exercise may have made dementia worse, although the differences in decline were small.

Contributing activity included moderate to high intensity aerobic and strength exercise training.

It is widely accepted that exercise can delay the begning of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.

A new study published by JAMAPsychiatry has suggested that being less well off in later life could be linked to a higher risk of dementia.

The research received wide coverage in the United Kingdom media.

Still, this study is the most robust one to date to investigate the effect of exercise on dementia.

What kind of research was this?

The DAPA trial was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and received additional support from the NIHR Local Clinical Research Networks and NIHR Oxford CLAHRC and Biomedical Research Centre.

What did the research involve?

Oxford University found that people with mild to moderate dementia who went to the gym twice a week for up to 90 minutes went downhill faster than those who abstained. They were recruited through memory clinics - specialist services that help people who have problems with their memory - and GP surgeries.

An Alzheimer's Society investigation has discovered that 50,000 people with dementia were admitted to A&E across the country in the a year ago, because inadequate social care is leaving them unprotected from falls and infections.

The exercise group showed improved physical fitness in the short term, but higher ADAS-cog scores at 12 months (25.2 v 23.8) compared with the usual care group, indicating worse cognitive impairment. ADAS-cog uses a series of tests created to assess cognitive functions such as memory, language abilities, understanding and reasoning.

What were the basic results?

For the latest study, scientist took 494 people in England who had been diagnosed with the dementia, and assigned 329 of them to exercise.

Alzheimer's disease assessment score was determined at the start of the trial and again after 6 and 12 months.

The average age of the group was 77.

There were also no differences between the groups in the other outcomes assessed, such as the number of falls and quality of life.

On the positive side, the research found the programme did improve the physical fitness of participants. After taking part in the programme, people were able to walk 361.8 metres on average, an improvement of 18 metres.

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