Exercise May Help Slow Memory Loss for People Living With Alzheimer’s Dementia

Exercise may reduce decline in global cognition in older adults with mild-to-moderate AD dementia. Aerobic exercise did not show superior cognitive effects to stretching in our pilot trial, possibly due to the lack of power. ASU Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation Professor Fang Yu led a pilot randomized control trial that included 96 older adults living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s dementia.

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

Participants were randomized to either a cycling (stationary bike) or stretching intervention for six months. Using the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognition (ADAS-Cog) to assess cognition, the results of the trial were substantial.

The six-month change in ADAS-Cog was 1.0±4.6 (cycling) and 0.1±4.1 (stretching), which were both significantly less than the expected 3.2±6.3-point increase observed naturally with disease progression.

“Our primary finding indicates that a six-month aerobic exercise intervention significantly reduced cognitive decline in comparison to the natural course of changes for Alzheimer’s dementia. However, we didn’t find a superior effect of aerobic exercise to stretching, which is likely due to the pilot nature of our trial. We don’t have the statistical power to detect between-group differences, there was substantial social interaction effect in the stretching group, and many stretching participants did aerobic exercise on their own.” Yu said.

The findings are described in a recently published article, Cognitive Effects of Aerobic Exercise in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial, in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Yu says their results are encouraging and support the clinical relevance of promoting aerobic exercise in individuals with Alzheimer’s dementia to maintain cognition.

“Aerobic exercise has a low profile of adverse events in older adults with Alzheimer’s dementia as demonstrated by our trial,” said Yu. “Regardless of its effect on cognition, the current collective evidence on its benefits supports the use of aerobic exercise as an additional therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.”

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Exercise May Help Slow Memory Loss for People Living With Alzheimer’s Dementia

  1. Thomas Marion

    I really wish I could have gotten your uncle interested in doing the 8 brocades with me when we went a few years ago to see what was really going on.

    On Tue, Mar 2, 2021 at 12:36 AM One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100 wrote:

    > Tony posted: ” Exercise may reduce decline in global cognition in older > adults with mild-to-moderate AD dementia. Aerobic exercise did not show > superior cognitive effects to stretching in our pilot trial, possibly due > to the lack of power. ASU Edson College of Nursing ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry Tony,
    That was meant for someone else. FYI, the 8 Brocades is a Qigong exercise.
    Tom

    Like

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