Effectiveness of exercise in slowing down cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease: the action for health with exercise in Alzheimer's disease (ahead) feasibility study
Physical activities and exercise can be beneficial in relation to cardiovascular, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. There is now increasing evidence that appropriate levels of exercise can also be helpful for mood and cognition.
For example, NICE recommends exercise in the management of mild depression. Recent studies following up people with no memory problems have shown that those who exercise regularly are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) compared to those who do not exercise.
Much less is known about the effect of exercise, if any, in slowing down the rate of cognitive decline in patients already diagnosed with early AD. The aim of this feasibility study is to shed light on this issue by assessing the effect of exercise in individuals with AD. This is a crossover trial, in which participants will be randomly allocated into one of two groups. One group will receive the exercise intervention first, which involves a home-based exercise program delivered twice weekly for 12 weeks. The second group will have contact from the research team encouraging them to think about increasing levels of activity into their daily routines.
At the end of the 12 week period, the second group receives the exercise intervention and the first group receives contact from the research team encouraging them to maintain the exercise program. This feasibility study will help in gaining information about the recruitment process, the exercise delivery, the rate of dropout, the cognitive assessment and other important factors which can influence the design of a larger study. The potential for added effect of appropriate dietary intake will also be evaluated. All participants agreeing to take part in this study will be asked to complete a dietary questionnaire to shed light on the quality and frequency of dietary intake components.
Funded by: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
CI: Dr Cassandra Richardson