EVALUATING THE EFFECT OF EXERCISE INTERVENTIONS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S AND RELATED DEMENTIA
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractAlzheimer’s disease affects 5.4 million people in the United States and without a current treatment to cure or reverse the progress of the disease, an estimated 16 million are projected to be affected by 2050.1 Thus, non-pharmacological approaches are relevant in improving the quality of life and reducing the burden of disease. Ongoing research indicates exercise may be linked to cognitive, functional, and neuropsychiatric benefits for those with Alzheimer’s. The aim of this literature review was to analyze the recent studies to determine whether exercise is a worthwhile intervention and which exercise strategy optimizes benefits. The literature review encompassed 17 articles consisting of randomized controlled studies, animal model studies, pilot studies, prospective studies, and analytical reviews. Results from randomized controlled studies showed exercise conferred physical functioning benefits but the heterogeneity between interventions and outcome measures highlights the need for standardizations and guidelines regarding dementia care. Animal models showed that biomarkers of Alzheimer’s pathology were reduced with physical activity, but utilization of advanced imaging and biomarker measurements in humans are needed to show clinical significance. Overall, exercise can be safely implemented with people living with Alzheimer’s but should be tailored to the individual’s needs for the best results.