MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Sarah E Lamb, MSc, MA, MCSP, Grad Dip Statistics, DPhil
Centre for Rehabilitation Research and Centre for Statistics in Medicine
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences
Botnar Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Scientists and clinicians have considered the possibility that higher intensity aerobic and muscle strength training might have a beneficial effect in preventing dementia or slowing the progression of cognitive impairment in those who have dementia.
The hypothesis has come mostly from animal research.
The main findings of our research which used a large sample and high quality methods was that higher intensity exercise, whilst possible, did not slow cognitive impairment. Neither did it have an impact on the functional and behavioural outcomes for people with dementia. It was a substantial commitment for people to participate in the programmes, although many enjoyed the experience and their physical fitness improved.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Higher intensity strength and aerobic training does not slow cognitive decline in older people with dementia. This was consistent across the main forms of dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular dementia). There was no improvement in physical function and behaviour. The exercise may have made cognition slightly worse, although this was only by a small amount.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We need to understand how exercise affects the brain in people with dementia. Different types of exercise are likely to have different effects (much as they do in people without dementia) and we need further research to guide safe and effective exercise prescription for people with dementia.
No disclosures other than those stated in the BMJ paper.
Dementia And Physical Activity (DAPA) trial of moderate to high intensity exercise training for people with dementia: randomised controlled trial
BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1675 (Published 16 May 2018)Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1675
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