Dementia is a common syndrome in the geriatric population. Subsequent impairment of cognitive functioning impacts the patient’s mobility, ADLs, and IADLs. It is suggested that older persons with lower levels of cognition are less likely to achieve independence in ADLs and ambulation (1–2). Frequently, nursing home residents are viewed as too frail or cognitively impaired to benefit from exercise rehabilitation. Often, persons with Mini Mental State Score (MMSE) score below 25 are excluded from physical rehabilitation programs. However, Diamond (3) and Goldstein (4) concluded that geriatric patients with mild to moderate cognitive impairment were just as likely as cognitively intact patients to improve in functional abilities as a result of participation in exercise rehabilitation programs.
The objective of this study is to compare, through a meta-analysis endurance and strength outcomes of Cognitively Impaired (MMSE <23) and Cognitively Intact (MMSE >24) older adults who participate in similar exercise programs.
Published articles were identified by using electronic and manual searches. Key search words included exercise, training, strength, endurance, rehabilitation, cognitive impairment, cognition, Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE), older adult, aged, and geriatrics. Articles were included if the were from RCTs or well-designed control studies.
A total of 41 manuscripts met the inclusion criteria. We examined 21 exercise trials with cognitively impaired individuals (CI=1411) and 20 exercise trials with cognitively intact individuals (IN=1510). Degree of cognitive impairment is based on the reported MMSE score. Moderate to large effect sizes (ES = dwi, Hedges gi) were found for strength and endurance outcomes for the CI groups (dwi = .51, 95% CI=. 42–.60), and for the IN groups (dwi =. 49, 95% CI=. 40 –.58). No statistically significant difference in ES was found between the CI and IN studies on strength (t=1.675, DF= 8, P=.132), endurance (t=1.904, DF= 14, P=.078), and combined strength and endurance effects (t=1.434, DF= 56, P=. 263).
These results suggest that cognitively impaired older adults who participate in exercise rehabilitation programs have similar strength and endurance training outcomes as age and gender matched cognitively intact older participants and therefore impaired individuals should not be excluded from exercise rehabilitation programs.
Older adult; cognition; physical rehabilitation; strength; endurance; training
Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on the brain and cognition in healthy older adults, though no study has directly examined possible cognitive benefits of formal exercise programs in persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) living in structured facilities. Thirty one participants completed neuropsychological testing and measures of cardiovascular fitness at baseline and after 6 months of a structured exercise program that included aerobic and resistance training. While exercise improved cardiovascular fitness in persons with mild cognitive impairment, there was no improvement in cognitive function. Rather, mild cognitive impairment patients in this sample declined in performance on several tests sensitive to Alzheimer’s disease. Examined in the context of past work, it appears exercise may be beneficial prior to the onset of MCI, though less helpful after its onset.
mild cognitive impairment; exercise; cognitive functioning; older adults; neuropsychology; cardiovascular fitness
A rapidly growing literature strongly suggests that exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, may attenuate cognitive impairment and reduce dementia risk. We used PubMed (keywords exercise and cognition) and manuscript bibliographies to examine the published evidence of a cognitive neuroprotective effect of exercise. Meta-analyses of prospective studies documented a significantly reduced risk of dementia associated with midlife exercise; similarly, midlife exercise significantly reduced later risks of mild cognitive impairment in several studies. Among patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) documented better cognitive scores after 6 to 12 months of exercise compared with sedentary controls. Meta-analyses of RCTs of aerobic exercise in healthy adults were also associated with significantly improved cognitive scores. One year of aerobic exercise in a large RCT of seniors was associated with significantly larger hippocampal volumes and better spatial memory; other RCTs in seniors documented attenuation of age-related gray matter volume loss with aerobic exercise. Cross-sectional studies similarly reported significantly larger hippocampal or gray matter volumes among physically fit seniors compared with unfit seniors. Brain cognitive networks studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging display improved connectivity after 6 to 12 months of exercise. Animal studies indicate that exercise facilitates neuroplasticity via a variety of biomechanisms, with improved learning outcomes. Induction of brain neurotrophic factors by exercise has been confirmed in multiple animal studies, with indirect evidence for this process in humans. Besides a brain neuroprotective effect, physical exercise may also attenuate cognitive decline via mitigation of cerebrovascular risk, including the contribution of small vessel disease to dementia. Exercise should not be overlooked as an important therapeutic strategy.
Research evidence strongly suggests that increased physical exercise may not only improve physical function in older adults but may also improve mood and slow the progression of cognitive decline. This paper describes a series of evidence-based interventions grounded in social-learning and gerontological theory that were designed to increase physical activity in persons with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. These programs, part of a collective termed the Seattle Protocols, are systematic, evidence-based approaches that are unique 1) in their focus on the importance of making regular exercise a pleasant activity, and 2) in teaching both cognitively impaired participants and their caregivers behavioral and problem-solving strategies for successfully establishing and maintaining realistic and pleasant exercise goals. While additional research is needed, initial findings from randomized controlled clinical trials are quite promising and suggest that the Seattle Protocols are both feasible and beneficial for community-residing individuals with a range of cognitive abilities and impairments.
AD; Behavioral Treatment; Caregiver training; Depression; Physical Activity; Behavioral problems; Exercise
[Purpose] The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive
activity combined with active physical exercise for a sample of older adults with
dementia. [Subjects] A convenience sample of 30 patients with dementia (Mini-Mental State
Examination score between 16 and 23) was used. Participants were randomly allocated to one
of two groups: cognitive activity combined with physical exercise CAE, n=11), and only
cognitive activity CA, n=9). [Methods] Both groups participated in a therapeutic exercise
program for 30 minutes, three days a week for 12 weeks. The CAE group performed an
additional exercise for 30 minutes a day, three days a week for 12 weeks. A Wii Balance
Board (WBB, Nintendo, Japan) was used to evaluate postural sway as an assessment of
balance. The Berg Balance Scale (BBS) and Modified Falls Efficacy Scale (MFES) were used
to assess dynamic balance abilities. The Timed Up-and-Go test (TUG) was used to assess
gait, and the Digit Span Test (DST) and 7 Minute Screening Test (7MST) were used to
measure memory performance. The Mini-Mental Status Exam-Korean version (MMSE-K), Kenny
Self-Care Evaluation (KSCE), and Short Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) were used to
assess quality of life (QOL). [Results] There were significant beneficial effects of the
therapeutic program on balance (velocity in EOWB, path length in ECNB, BBS, and MMFE), QOL
(MMSE-KC, GDS, KSCE), and memory performance (DSB) in the CAE group compared to CA group,
and between pre-test and post-test. [Conclusion] A 12-week CAE program resulted in
improvements in balance, memory and QOL. Therefore, some older adults with dementia have
the ability to acquire effective skills relevant to daily living.
Dementia; Elderly; Gait
Besides cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease (AD) leads to physical disability, need for help and permanent institutional care. The trials investigating effects of exercise rehabilitation on physical functioning of home-dwelling older dementia patients are still scarce. The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of intensive exercise rehabilitation lasting for one year on mobility and physical functioning of home-dwelling patients with AD.
During years 2008-2010, patients with AD (n = 210) living with their spousal caregiver in community are recruited using central AD registers in Finland, and they are offered exercise rehabilitation lasting for one year. The patients are randomized into three arms: 1) tailored home-based exercise twice weekly 2) group-based exercise twice weekly in rehabilitation center 3) control group with usual care and information of exercise and nutrition. Main outcome measures will be Guralnik's mobility and balance tests and FIM-test to assess physical functioning. Secondary measures will be cognition, neuropsychiatric symptoms according to the Neuropsychiatric Inventory, caregivers' burden, depression and health-related quality of life (RAND-36). Data concerning admissions to institutional care and the use and costs of health and social services will be collected during a two year follow-up.
To our knowledge this is the first large scale trial exploring whether home-dwelling patients with AD will benefit from intense and long-lasting exercise rehabilitation in respect to their mobility and physical functioning. It will also provide data on cost-effectiveness of the intervention.
Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) not only increase the risk for clinical CVD events, but also are associated with a cascade of neurophysiologic and neuroanatomic changes that increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Although epidemiological studies have shown that exercise and diet are associated with lower CVD risk and reduced incidence of dementia, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) has examined the independent effects of exercise and diet on neurocognitive function among individuals at risk for dementia. The ENLIGHTEN trial is a RCT of patients with CVD risk factors who also are characterized by subjective cognitive complaints and objective evidence of neurocognitive impairment without dementia (CIND)
A 2 by 2 design will examine the independent and combined effects of diet and exercise on neurocognition. 160 participants diagnosed with CIND will be randomly assigned to 6 months of aerobic exercise, the DASH diet, or a combination of both exercise and diet; a (control) group will receive health education but otherwise will maintain their usual dietary and activity habits. Participants will complete comprehensive assessments of neurocognitive functioning along with biomarkers of CVD risk including measures of blood pressure, glucose, endothelial function, and arterial stiffness.
The ENLIGHTEN trial will (a) evaluate the effectiveness of aerobic exercise and the DASH diet in improving neurocognitive functioning in CIND patients with CVD risk factors; (b) examine possible mechanisms by which exercise and diet improve neurocognition; and (c) consider potential moderators of treatment, including subclinical CVD.
Neurocognition; Cognitive impairment; Dementia; Aerobic exercise; Nutrition; DASH diet; CIND; Randomized Clinical Trial
An increasing elderly population in Japan requires effective cognitive intervention programs for dementia. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of such programs for older adults.
The participants were local community-dwelling non-demented older adults and adults with mild cognitive impairment who underwent executive function and group aerobic training. In addition, a non-intervention group participated in activity sessions involving handicraft, Skutt ball matches, and cooking. The four criteria for assessment were cognitive function, instrumental activities of daily living, human relationships, and physical function.
The participants in both intervention groups showed a significant improvement in their memory function compared with the non-intervention group.
Early rehabilitation intervention using executive function and aerobic training programs may improve memory.
Community-based study; Dementia; Cognitive rehabilitation; Aerobic exercise; Non-pharmacological therapies; Reasoning; Memory performance/appraisal
Intervention studies testing the efficacy of cardiorespiratory exercise have shown some promise in terms of improving cognitive function in later life. Recent developments suggest that a multi-modal exercise intervention that includes motor as well as physical training and requires sustained attention and concentration, may better elicit the actual potency of exercise to enhance cognitive performance. This study will test the effect of a multi-modal exercise program, for older women, on cognitive and physical functioning.
This randomised controlled trial involves community dwelling women, without cognitive impairment, aged 65–75 years. Participants are randomised to exercise intervention or non-exercise control groups, for 16 weeks. The intervention consists of twice weekly, 60 minute, exercise classes incorporating aerobic, strength, balance, flexibility, co-ordination and agility training. Primary outcomes are measures of cognitive function and secondary outcomes include physical functioning and a neurocognitive biomarker (brain derived neurotrophic factor). Measures are taken at baseline and 16 weeks later and qualitative data related to the experience and acceptability of the program are collected from a sub-sample of the intervention group.
If this randomised controlled trial demonstrates that multimodal exercise (that includes motor fitness training) can improve cognitive performance in later life, the benefits will be two-fold. First, an inexpensive, effective strategy will have been developed that could ameliorate the increased prevalence of age-related cognitive impairment predicted to accompany population ageing. Second, more robust evidence will have been provided about the mechanisms that link exercise to cognitive improvement allowing future research to be better focused and potentially more productive.
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trial Registration Number: ANZCTR12612000451808
Exercise; Cognition; Aged; Multi-modal exercise; Brain derived neurotrophic factor
Although studies show a negative relationship between physical activity and the risk for cognitive impairment and late-onset Alzheimer's disease, studies concerning early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) are lacking. This review aims to justify the value of exercise interventions in EOAD by providing theoretical considerations that include neurobiological processes.
A literature search on key words related to early-onset dementia, exercise, imaging, neurobiological mechanisms, and cognitive reserve was performed. Results/Conclusion: Brain regions and neurobiological processes contributing to the positive effects of exercise are affected in EOAD and, thus, provide theoretical support for exercise interventions in EOAD. Finally, we present the design of a randomized controlled trial currently being conducted in early-onset dementia patients.
Dementia; Early-onset Alzheimer's disease; Early-onset dementia; Intervention; Physical activity; Presenile dementia
To investigate the effect of self exercise in cardiac rehabilitation on cardiopulmonary exercise capacity for selected patients with coronary artery disease.
The subjects of this study were patients who received percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery and who participated in a cardiac rehabilitation program. The supervised exercise group participated in 6-8 weeks of aerobic exercise training with telemetry ECG monitoring in hospital. The self exercise group, whose exercise risk was low, was instructed to participiate in self exercise training in a community exercise environment according to the exercise tolerance test (ETT) using a modified Bruce protocol. Both groups underwent ETTs before and 6 months after initiation of the cardiac rehabilitation program. We compared the supervised group with the self exercise groups on exercise capacity.
After 6 months, the supervised exercise group showed significant changes in maximum oxygen consumption, maximal heart rate, resting heart rate, and submaximal rate pressure product. The self exercise group also showed significant improvement of maximum oxygen consumption and submaximal rate pressure product. However, the changing rate of maximum oxygen consumption was significantly higher in the supervised exercise group than the self exercise group.
Both the supervised and self exercise groups showed similar improvement of cardiopulmonary exercise capacity after 6 months' participation in the cardiac rehabilitation program. However, the changing rate of maximum oxygen consumption, maximal heart rate, and resting heart rate were significantly higher in the supervised exercise group than the self exercise group.
Coronary artery disease; Exercise; Rehabilitation; Self
Theories supporting the existence of a use-dependent neuroplasticity in the older brain were used to guide this pilot study. A repeated-measures randomized design was used to test the effectiveness of a multimodal (Taiji exercises, cognitive-behavioral therapies, support group) intervention on cognitive functioning, physical functioning, and behavioral outcomes in persons with dementia. The treatment group (n = 24 persons with dementia) participated in a 40-week intervention, with outcomes assessed at 20 and 40 weeks to assess optimal treatment length. Control group subjects (n = 19 persons with dementia) received attention-control educational programs. At 20 weeks, differences between groups were found for mental ability and self-esteem, with gains in balance being evident. Also, stability in depression and physical health were evident at 20 and 40 weeks for treatment group subjects. Continued improvement in outcomes was not observed at 40 weeks. However, findings support further testing of the intervention along with potential for achieving positive outcomes in early-stage dementia.
multimodal intervention; Taiji exercises; randomized design; cognition; balance
There are more than 36 million people in the US over the age of 65, and all of them are impacted by the cognitive decline and brain atrophy associated with normal aging and dementia-causing conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease, and vascular dementia. Recently, moderate exercise and improved fitness have been shown to enhance cognition in cognitively normal older persons as well as in individuals who complain of memory difficulty. Additionally, fitness correlates with brain volume in persons who are cognitively normal and those with Alzheimer's disease. Exercise in mouse models causes neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. This review will discuss animal experiments, epidemiology, limited prospective studies, and biomarker data that make the case that prospective blinded studies are urgently needed to evaluate the role of aerobic exercise in protecting against dementia.
Chronic psychosocial stress in caregivers can lead to adverse health outcomes including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. We examined the effects of having a spouse with dementia on one’s own risk for incident dementia.
Population-based study of incident dementia in spouses of persons with dementia.
Rural county in northern Utah.
2,442 subjects (1,221 married couples) aged 65 and older.
Incident dementia was diagnosed in 255 subjects, with onset defined as age when subject met DSM-III-R criteria for dementia. Cox proportional hazards regression tested the effect of time-dependent exposure to dementia in one’s spouse, adjusted for potential confounders.
A subject whose spouse experienced incident dementia onset had a six-fold increase in the hazard for incident dementia compared to subjects whose spouses were dementia free [Hazard Rate Ratio (HRR)=6.0, 95% CI: 2.2–16.2 (p<.001)]. In sex-specific analyses, husbands had higher risks (HRR=11.9, 95% CI: 1.7–85.5, p=.014) compared to wives (HRR=3.7, 95% CI: 1.2–11.6, p=.028).
The chronic and often severe stress associated with dementia caregiving may exert substantial risk for the development of dementia in spouse caregivers. Additional (not mutually exclusive) explanations for findings are discussed.
dementia; caregiving; stress
Despite its efficacy and cost-effectiveness, exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation is undertaken by less than one-third of clinically eligible cardiac patients in every country for which data is available. Reasons for non-participation include the unavailability of hospital-based rehabilitation programs, or excessive travel time and distance. For this reason, there have been calls for the development of more flexible alternatives.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We developed a system to enable walking-based cardiac rehabilitation in which the patient's single-lead ECG, heart rate, GPS-based speed and location are transmitted by a programmed smartphone to a secure server for real-time monitoring by a qualified exercise scientist. The feasibility of this approach was evaluated in 134 remotely-monitored exercise assessment and exercise sessions in cardiac patients unable to undertake hospital-based rehabilitation. Completion rates, rates of technical problems, detection of ECG changes, pre- and post-intervention six minute walk test (6 MWT), cardiac depression and Quality of Life (QOL) were key measures. The system was rated as easy and quick to use. It allowed participants to complete six weeks of exercise-based rehabilitation near their homes, worksites, or when travelling. The majority of sessions were completed without any technical problems, although periodic signal loss in areas of poor coverage was an occasional limitation. Several exercise and post-exercise ECG changes were detected. Participants showed improvements comparable to those reported for hospital-based programs, walking significantly further on the post-intervention 6 MWT, 637 m (95% CI: 565–726), than on the pre-test, 524 m (95% CI: 420–655), and reporting significantly reduced levels of cardiac depression and significantly improved physical health-related QOL.
Conclusions and Significance
The system provided a feasible and very flexible alternative form of supervised cardiac rehabilitation for those unable to access hospital-based programs, with the potential to address a well-recognised deficiency in health care provision in many countries. Future research should assess its longer-term efficacy, cost-effectiveness and safety in larger samples representing the spectrum of cardiac morbidity and severity.
Sub-cortical vascular ischaemia is the second most common etiology contributing to cognitive impairment in older adults, and is frequently under-diagnosed and under-treated. Although evidence is mounting that exercise has benefits for cognitive function among seniors, very few randomized controlled trials of exercise have been conducted in populations at high-risk for progression to dementia. Aerobic-based exercise training may be of specific benefit in delaying the progression of cognitive decline among seniors with vascular cognitive impairment by reducing key vascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Thus, we aim to carry out a proof-of-concept single-blinded randomized controlled trial primarily designed to provide preliminary evidence of efficacy aerobic-based exercise training program on cognitive and everyday function among older adults with mild sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment.
A proof-of-concept single-blinded randomized trial comparing a six-month, thrice-weekly, aerobic-based exercise training group with usual care on cognitive and everyday function. Seventy older adults who meet the diagnostic criteria for sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment as outlined by Erkinjuntti and colleagues will be recruited from a memory clinic of a metropolitan hospital. The aerobic-based exercise training will last for 6 months. Participants will be followed for an additional six months after the cessation of exercise training.
This research will be an important first step in quantifying the effect of an exercise intervention on cognitive and daily function among seniors with sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment, a recognized risk state for progression to dementia. Exercise has the potential to be an effective, inexpensive, and accessible intervention strategy with minimal adverse effects. Reducing the rate of cognitive decline among seniors with sub-cortical ischaemic vascular cognitive impairment could preserve independent functioning and health related quality of life in this population. This, in turn, could lead to reduced health care resource utilization costs and avoidance of early institutional care.
ClinicalTrials.gov Protocol Registration System: NCT01027858.
The cognitive impairment that defines dementia is thought to place affected persons at increased risk for unsafe driving. Nevertheless, many persons with dementia continue to drive after the onset of their illness. Since 1988 California physicians have been required to report older persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders to their local health departments, information that is then reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To reevaluate how it acts on this information, the DMV convened an interdisciplinary panel of experts and modified its policies regarding drivers with dementia. As revised, the driver's licenses of persons with moderate or advanced dementia will be revoked without further testing. Persons with early or mild dementia will have the opportunity to demonstrate the capacity to drive through a reexamination process. In this manner, the California DMV hopes to balance the need for public safety and with the preservation of personal independence of persons with dementia.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and becomes increasingly prevalent among patients aged 65 years and older. Elderly patients are at a higher risk for complications and accelerated physical deconditioning after a cardiovascular event, especially compared to their younger counterparts. The last few decades were privy to multiple studies that demonstrated the beneficial effects of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) and exercise therapy on mortality, exercise capacity, psychological risk factors, inflammation, and obesity among patients with CHD. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the available data in this field pertains to younger patients. A viable explanation is that older patients are grossly underrepresented in these programs for multiple reasons starting with the patient and extending to the physician. In this article, we will review the benefits of CR programs among the elderly, as well as some of the barriers that hinder their participation.
Cardiac rehabilitation; Exercise therapy; Elderly patients; Exercise capacity
After experiencing a stroke, most individuals also suffer from cardiac disease, are immobile and thus have low endurance for exercise. Aerobic capacity is seriously reduced in these individuals and does not reach reasonable levels after conventional rehabilitation programmes. Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial for improvement of aerobic capacity in mild to moderate stroke. However, less is known about its impact on aerobic capacity, motor recovery, and quality-of-life in severely impaired individuals. The aim of this pilot study is to explore the clinical efficacy and feasibility of cardiovascular exercise with regard to aerobic capacity, motor recovery, and quality-of-life using feedback-controlled robotics-assisted treadmill exercise in non-ambulatory individuals soon after experiencing a stroke.
This will be a single-centred single blind, randomised control trial with a pre-post intervention design. Subjects will be recruited early after their first stroke (≤20 weeks) at a neurological rehabilitation clinic and will be randomly allocated to an inpatient cardiovascular exercise programme that uses feedback-controlled robotics-assisted treadmill exercise (experimental) or to conventional robotics-assisted treadmill exercise (control). Intervention duration depends on the duration of each subject’s inpatient rehabilitation period. Aerobic capacity, as the primary outcome measure, will be assessed using feedback-controlled robotics-assisted treadmill-based cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Secondary outcome measures will include gait speed, walking endurance, standing function, and quality-of-life. Outcome assessment will be conducted at baseline, after each 4-week intervention period, and before clinical discharge. Ethical approval has been obtained.
Whether cardiovascular exercise in non-ambulatory individuals early after stroke has an impact on aerobic capacity, motor recovery, and quality-of-life is not yet known. Feedback-controlled robotics-assisted treadmill exercise is a relatively recent intervention method and might be used to train and evaluate aerobic capacity in this population. The present pilot trial is expected to provide new insights into the implementation of early cardiovascular exercise for individuals with severe motor impairment. The findings of this study may guide future research to explore the effects of early cardiovascular activation after severe neurological events.
This trial is registered with the Clinical Trials.gov Registry (NCT01679600).
Stroke; Aerobic exercise; Sub-acute; Non-ambulatory; Aerobic capacity; Robotics-assisted
The effects of regular exercise versus a single bout of exercise on cognition, anxiety, and mood were systematically examined in healthy, sedentary young adults who were genotyped to determine brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) allelic status (i.e., Val-Val or Val66Met polymorphism). Participants were evaluated on novel object recognition (NOR) memory and a battery of mental health surveys before and after engaging in either a) a four-week exercise program, with exercise on the final test day, b) a four-week exercise program, without exercise on the final test day, c) a single bout of exercise on the final test day, or d) remaining sedentary between test days. Exercise enhanced object recognition memory and produced a beneficial decrease in perceived stress, but only in participants who exercised for four weeks including the final day of testing. In contrast, a single bout of exercise did not affect recognition memory and resulted in increased perceived stress levels. An additional novel finding was that the improvements on the NOR task were observed exclusively in participants who were homozygous for the BDNF Val allele, indicating that altered activity-dependent release of BDNF in Met allele carriers may attenuate the cognitive benefits of exercise. Importantly, exercise-induced changes in cognition were not correlated with changes in mood/anxiety, suggesting that separate neural systems mediate these effects. These data in humans mirror recent data from our group in rodents. Taken together, these current findings provide new insights into the behavioral and neural mechanisms that mediate the effects of physical exercise on memory and mental health in humans.
BDNF; genotype; object recognition memory; mood; anxiety; stress
Many countries have passed laws giving patients the right to participate in decisions about health care. People with dementia cannot be assumed to be incapable of making decisions on their diagnosis alone as they may have retained cognitive abilities.
The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of how persons with dementia participated in making decisions about health care and how their family carers and professional caregivers influenced decision making.
This Norwegian study had a qualitative multi-case design. The triad in each of the ten cases consisted of the person with dementia, the family carer and the professional caregiver, in all 30 participants. Inclusion criteria for the persons with dementia were: (1) 67 years or older (2) diagnosed with dementia (3) Clinical Dementia Rating score 2, moderate dementia; (3) able to communicate verbally. The family carers and professional caregivers were then asked to participate.
A semi-structured interview guide was used in interviews with family carers and professional caregivers. Field notes were written after participant observation of interactions between persons with dementia and professional caregivers during morning care or activities at a day centre. How the professional caregivers facilitated decision making was the focus of the observations that varied in length from 30 to 90 minutes. The data were analyzed using framework analysis combined with a hermeneutical interpretive approach.
Professional caregivers based their assessment of mental competence on experience and not on standardized tests. Persons with dementia demonstrated variability in how they participated in decision making. Pseudo-autonomous decision making and delegating decision making were new categories that emerged. Autonomous decision making did occur but shared decision making was the most typical pattern. Reduced mental capacity, lack of available choices or not being given the opportunity to participate led to non-involvement. Not all decisions were based on logic; personal values and relationships were also considered.
Persons with moderate dementia demonstrated variability in how they participated in decision making. Optimal involvement was facilitated by positioning them as capable of influencing decisions, assessing decision-specific competence, clarifying values and understanding the significance of relationships and context.
In an aging population with increasing incidence of dementia and cognitive impairment, strategies are needed to slow age-related decline and reduce disease-related cognitive impairment in older adults. Physical exercise that targets modifiable risk factors and neuroprotective mechanisms may reduce declines in cognitive performance attributed to the normal aging process and protect against changes related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. In this review we summarize the role of exercise in neuroprotection and cognitive performance, and provide information related to implementation of physical exercise programs for older adults. Evidence from both animal and human studies supports the role of physical exercise in modifying metabolic, structural, and functional dimensions of the brain and preserving cognitive performance in older adults. The results of observational studies support a dose-dependent neuroprotective relationship between physical exercise and cognitive performance in older adults. Although some clinical trials of exercise interventions demonstrate positive effects of exercise on cognitive performance, other trials show minimal to no effect. Although further research is needed, physical exercise interventions aimed at improving brain health through neuroprotective mechanisms show promise for preserving cognitive performance. Exercise programs that are structured, individualized, higher intensity, longer duration, and multicomponent show promise for preserving cognitive performance in older adults.
aging; neurodegeneration; dementia; brain; physical activity
Improving the situation in older adults with cognitive decline and evidence of cognitive rehabilitation is considered crucial in long-term care of the elderly. The objective of this study was to implement a computerized errorless learning-based memory training program (CELP) for persons with early Alzheimer’s disease, and to compare the training outcomes of a CELP group with those of a therapist-led errorless learning program (TELP) group and a waiting-list control group.
A randomized controlled trial with a single-blind research design was used in the study. Chinese patients with early Alzheimer’s disease screened by the Clinical Dementia Rating (score of 1) were recruited. The subjects were randomly assigned to CELP (n = 6), TELP (n = 6), and waiting-list control (n = 7) groups. Evaluation of subjects before and after testing, and at three-month follow-up was achieved using primary outcomes on the Chinese Mini-Mental State Examination, Chinese Dementia Rating Scale, Hong Kong List Learning Test, and the Brief Assessment of Prospective Memory-Short Form. Secondary outcomes were the Modified Barthel Index, Hong Kong Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living Scale, and Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form. The data were analyzed using Friedman’s test for time effect and the Kruskal-Wallis test for treatment effect.
Positive treatment effects on cognition were found in two errorless learning-based memory groups (ie, computer-assisted and therapist-led). Remarkable changes were shown in cognitive function for subjects receiving CELP and emotional/daily functions in those receiving TELP.
Positive changes in the cognitive function of Chinese patients with early Alzheimer’s disease were initially found after errorless training through CELP. Further enhancement of the training program is recommended.
Alzheimer’s disease; memory training; errorless learning; computerized; early dementia
We examined the frequency and course of cognitive impairment, no dementia among a group of older patients enrolled in a longitudinal study of depression. Among 230 participants, 29 with baseline dementia diagnosis were excluded from further analyses. Among the remaining 201 participants, 69 were classified with cognitive impairment, no dementia—broadly defined (34.3%) and 28 (13.9%) with cognitive impairment, no dementia—narrowly defined. At 2-year follow-up, individuals with cognitive impairment, no dementia either narrowly or broadly defined had varied outcomes including (1) improvement to normal cognition, (2) continued cognitive impairment, and (3) progression to dementia. Patients with cognitive impairment, no dementia were more likely to be assigned a later diagnosis of dementia. Our results characterize the concept of cognitive impairment, no dementia as a risk factor for dementia among older individuals with current and past depression; however, just as with the general population, the course of this condition is heterogeneous.
depression; cognitive impairment; cognitive decline
Evaluate the feasibility of implementing a combined in-hospital and home-based exercise program in older hemodialysis (HD) patients.
A prospective longitudinal 12-week pilot study.
A university hospital HD unit and patients’ homes.
A convenience sample of 9 older (>55years) patients undergoing HD.
An individualized exercise program performed on HD days (3/week) and at home (2–3/week), including aerobic, flexibility, strength exercises and patient education.
Main Outcome Measures
Feasibility measures: patient participation and satisfaction. Exercise performance: Duke Activity Status Index (DASI); 2-minute walk test (2MWT); Timed-up-and-go (TUG). Quality of life: The Illness Intrusiveness Ratings Scale (IIRS); The Kidney Disease Quality of Life questionnaire (KDQOL).
The mean (SD) age of the patients was 68.1 (7.1). Participation in the in-hospital supervised exercise program was high, with patients exercising during 89% of HD sessions, but was lower for the unsupervised home-based component (56% exercised ≥ 2 times/week). Patients showed a gradual increase in the amount of exercise performed over 12 weeks. The 2MWT, TUG, IIRS and the KDQOL physical composite score demonstrated moderate responsiveness, while the DASI score exhibited only limited responsiveness.
This exercise program and the outcome measures were feasible for older HD patients: inhospital participation was high and physical performance and QOL measures exhibited moderate levels of responsiveness. Future, larger studies are needed to demonstrate whether intra-dialysis exercise, with or without home exercise, can lead to improved outcomes in this population.
PMID: 20213292 CAMSID: cams2045
Aged; Exercise; Physical fitness; Quality of Life; Renal Dialysis