Characteristics Of The Participants
Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of the participants are summarized in Table . The sample included 9 formal caregivers supervisors, all female and with geriatric nursing assistant certification. The IwD that participated in the study were 70.3% females and all presented a neurocognitive disorder . Hypertension, minor heart condition, diabetes mellitus and osteoporosis were the other main diagnoses besides the NCD. The CDR showed that the average of the care receivers was in the moderate stage of dementia for both groups. No significant differences were observed for the total cognitive function score assessed by MMSE between groups. There were also no significant differences at baseline between groups were observed in physical fitness variables.
The baseline results showed significant differences in incontinence between EG and CG, reported by caregivers.
Caregivers did not perceive other significant differences between groups at baseline, including BPSD-score, BPSD-distress, functional capacity components and QoL .
Table 3 BPSD-score, BPSD-caregivers´ distress, functional capacity and QoL results at baseline
Regular Exercise As Neuroprotective Therapy
Although medications have no proven neuroprotective effect on dementia, an evolving literature documents significant benefit of long-term, regular exercise on cognition, dementia risk, and perhaps dementia progression. These studies suggest an attenuating effect on brain aging and resilience to dementing neurodegenerative mechanisms.
Exercise also favors brain health via the well-known attenuating influences on atherosclerotic cerebrovascular disease. Thus, primary vascular dementia is common and, moreover, cerebrovascular small vessel disease appears additive with neurodegenerative processes to cause dementia. These atherosclerotic cerebrovascular mechanisms are distinctive from neurodegeneration and age-related loss of neuropil and synapses. Because the benefit of exercise on atherosclerotic risk seems well established, this contribution to the subject will not be a focus of this article.
Our focus is on the scientific basis for advocating regular exercise as a prophylactic and perhaps disease-slowing treatment of neurodegenerative and age-related dementia and MCI. Although certain studies in humans make it difficult to separate vascular contributions, the literature in the aggregate suggests that exercise may have more direct favorable effects on brain neuroplasticity and resilience to brain aging and neurodegeneration.
Can Brain Exercises Help Dementia
Among seniors, theres a theory of use it or lose it, which means that by abandoning skills or abilities through inactivity, those skills could disappear. This report from Todays Geriatric Medicine discussed the very concept.
According to the report, recent advances in brain science have provided clear evidence that the brain continuously shrinks and expands depending on our experiences.
The Alzheimers Society, a UK organization, also confirms what Todays Geriatric Medicine found. Their research shows that brain training and other areas of cognitive training can benefit the cognitive function and memory abilities of older adults. The organization defines brain training as games like bespoke computer games, Sudoku, and crossword puzzles.
However, the Alzheimers Society is clear that while these games can be a great way to help boost cognitive health in those who already have dementia or Alzheimers, playing brain games and mental exercises alone cannot prevent memory loss or the onset of these diseases.
In fact, an article in Todays Geriatric Medicine talked about how the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning that the surge in brain-training sessions and games has resulted in fraudulent claims that have preyed on consumers fears.
Check out our Activity Calendar For Seniors With Dementia article for some ideas on stimulating and engaging activities to do with your loved one.
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Dementia Isnt A Normal Part Of Aging
Dementia isnt a natural or inevitable part of aging, said Fargo, although age is the largest risk factor and the greatest predictor of whether someone will have Alzheimers.
He said that although risk increases with age, even in those 85 and older, only 1 in 3 have Alzheimers.
Its a specific brain disease that the risk for happens to increase as you age, he said.
But even those at higher genetic risk of the disease can take steps to lessen their risk.
Fargo added that theres strong evidence that making better lifestyle choices can reduce our risk of dementia. Randomized controlled clinical trial evidence, such as this paper on exercise, show that if you change a risk factor, youre reducing risk.
He pointed out There are 10 that we believe are supported by the evidence, and we list those on our website. However, the most important of those 10 is exercise, diet, and controlling blood pressure.
Pillar #: Quality Sleep
There are a number of links between poor sleep patterns and the development of Alzheimers and dementia. Some studies have emphasized the importance of quality sleep for flushing out toxins in the brain. Others have linked poor sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain, a sticky protein that can further disrupt the deep sleep necessary for memory formation.
If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and or affecting your mood, you may be at greater risk of developing or deteriorating symptoms of Alzheimers disease. To help improve your sleep:
Establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time reinforces your natural circadian rhythms. Your brains clock responds to regularity.
Set the mood. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, and ban television and computers from the bedroom .
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Take a hot bath, do some light stretches, listen to relaxing music, or dim the lights. As it becomes habit, your nightly ritual will send a powerful signal to your brain that its time for deep restorative sleep.
Quiet your inner chatter. When stress, anxiety, or worrying keeps you awake, get out of bed. Try reading or relaxing in another room for twenty minutes then hop back in.
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Stage : Study Selection
All records identified through searching the three databases were exported to Endnote bibliographic software with abstracts and references. After the first author manually removed duplicates from Endnote, two researchers screened the remaining 67 record titles and abstracts. Abstracts with disagreement or insufficient information were screened by full texts. The first authors of 3 full text articles were contacted for access to the full text. Full-text articles with discrepancies were resolved by a third reviewer . All three authors agreed that there were no records that met the predefined inclusion criteria.
Activities For Dementia Patients: How To Do Them And How They Help
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Can Brain Exercises Help Delay Memory Loss Or Dementia
When people keep their minds active, their thinking skills are less likely to decline, medical research shows. So games, puzzles, and other types of brain training may help slow memory loss and other mental problems.
One study involved more than 2,800 adults 65 and older. They went to up to 10 hour-long brain-training sessions for 5 to 6 weeks. The sessions focused on tactics for these skills:
- Speed of processing information
People who took the training showed improvement in these skills that lasted for at least 5 years. They also improved at everyday tasks, such as the ability to manage money and do housework.
But what about prevention of Alzheimer’s and other dementias? Does brain training help?
One study found that exercising the mind delayed declines in thinking skills. After people started having Alzheimer’s symptoms, though, mental decline sped up in those who kept their minds engaged. It’s possible that being mentally active bolstered the brain at first, so symptoms didn’t show up until later.
The silver lining here? People who regularly challenge their minds may spend a shorter part of their lives in a state of decline, even if they do get Alzheimer’s.
Stage 1: Identify The Research Question
This review is guided by the following research question: What is known about the effects of aerobic exercise on various health outcomes in individuals diagnosed with EOD? Three key concepts were identified from the review question: early-onset dementia, health outcome, and aerobic exercise.
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Be Active For Better Memory
A recent study conducted at Rush University Medical Center found that active older adults may keep more of their cognitive abilities than those less active, even if they have brain lesions or biomarkers linked to dementia.
The association between activity and scores on cognitive tests remained even when researchers adjusted for how severe a participants brain lesions were. The relationship was also consistent in people who had dementia and those who didnt.
Researchers also found that participants who showed better movement and coordination had sharper memory and cognition.
People who moved more had better thinking and memory skills compared to those who were more sedentary and did not move much at all, said Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor in the department of neurological sciences at Rush in a statement.
Daily Activities Or Household Chores
Dementia patients want to feel a sense of independence. We all do. While it can be tempting to step in and take over all home care and household chores, you should encourage your loved one to complete these safe activities:
Fold laundry: Folding laundry is a nearly failure-free activity that can give a dementia patient a sense of accomplishment .
Untie or tie knots: If the individual has shoes with laces, tying or untying knots can help improve mobility in their hands.
Loading the dishwasher: If dishes need to be washed, this could be a task they can do on their own .
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Functional Mri Cognitive Networks In Healthy Seniors
Functional brain MRI during cognitive tasks has also documented significantly improved cognitive networks with exercise or fitness. In one 6-month RCT among seniors, aerobic exercise translated into significantly improved cortical connectivity and activation, compared with controls. In a 12-month RCT, aerobic exercise likewise improved cognitive fMRI network connectivity however, the control group undergoing nonaerobic stretching and toning also had improved fMRI outcomes.
In cross-sectional analyses, physically fit seniors had fMRI evidence of significantly better cortical connectivity and activation during cognitive tasks than unfit seniors ., Physically fit seniors also performed significantly better on cognitive tasks than unfit seniors in these cross-sectional studies.,,
The Best Exercise For People With Alzheimers Disease
Robert Newton, PhD and Owen Carmichael, PhD
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University
- Expert Advice
Learn about the different exercises that are appropriate and safe for individuals with Alzheimers disease.
There is little doubt that regular exercise improves health. It helps to lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, decrease waist circumference, improve fitness, maintain weight, improve mood, and decrease anxiety.1-4 These benefits are especially important for individuals with Alzheimers disease who often have comorbid chronic diseases and changes to mood. In addition, regular exercise can aid in slowing the progressive cognitive decline of individuals with Alzheimers disease.5 Individuals with Alzheimers disease or their caretakers may wonder if regular exercise is safe and what exercises should be done. So, what kinds of exercise should individuals with Alzheimers disease be doing?
Exercise Strengthens 2 Key Brain Areas
Exercise builds up the capacity of parts of your brain associated with memory and learning: the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex.
Exercise is not going to cure Alzheimers or dementia, but it anatomically strengthens two of the key targets of both those diseases, Suzuki says.
Mentally, three of the biggest benefits are better mood, memory, and attention.
Another study found that physical activity improves cognition in older adults, even those with dementia, the National Institutes of Health reported.
Encouraging evidence indicates that being more physically active is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimers disease and a slower rate of cognitive decline in older adults, the NIH said.
Neurotrophic Factors Cognition And Exercise In Humans
Theoretically, neurotrophic factors may be important in combating age-related brain atrophy and perhaps neurodegenerative disease. In contrast to laboratory animals, however, brain concentrations of neurotrophic factors cannot easily be studied in humans. Human investigations have focused on circulating levels, which may or may not reflect what is going on within the brain.
BDNF is widely expressed throughout the human adult brain, whereas levels are significantly reduced in the brains of AD patients.- BDNF is rapidly transported in both directions across the blood-brain barrier,, and hence measurement of circulating levels could be relevant to the brain. Thus, circulating BDNF levels are reduced in patients with AD, moreover, AD patients whose condition is rapidly declining have significantly lower serum BDNF concentrations than those whose condition is slowly declining. Note also that in healthy young adults, BDNF appears to be released from the human brain by both short-term vigorous exercise and long-term endurance training on the basis of arterial and venous measurements.
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Fitness Industry Starts Weighing In
A new fitness center is set to open in Cincinnati this fall to bring physical and cognitive fitness together in one workout. Activate is the brainchild of former fitness industry executive Martin Pazzani. He teamed with Mike Gelfgot and John Spence, who together owned multiple successful Anytime Fitness locations.
Weve found that when you put the brain fist, the body follows, Pazzani says.
Its very simple and powerful, says clinical psychologist Marie Stoner, director of programming & co-founder at Activate. Its physical activity and cognitive stimulation combined. Each of them separately is good, but when we do them together, the benefit is greater and comes more quickly. Physical activity is really the antidote for so much in aging.
Stoner says she was a bit skeptical at first — arent reading and games like crossword puzzles enough to keep our minds sharp as we age?
But it all clicked when she discovered dual-task roots deep in human evolution.
Early humans lived in the forest and were basically sedentary, she says. But then we came out of the forests and began the hunter-gatherer stage, and the brain adapted to the new challenges. People had to be able to think and make decisions while they were running and performing other physical tasks. Those two things got linked together in evolution. Thats why aerobic and strength training are so effective for brain health.”
The New York Times: Move Your Body, Bolster Your Brain.
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What Are Some Brain Stimulating Activities
Although the Todays Geriatric Medicine research concluded that little scientific evidence exists to support the benefit ofthe use it or lose it philosophy more generally, stimulating the brain is still good for dementia and Alzheimers patients alike.
Mental stimulation simply means doing an activity that engages ones attention. Here are some of our favorites.
Effectiveness Of Exercise Programs On Patients With Dementia: A Systematic Review And Meta
1Department of Physical Education, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, China
2The Institute of Clinical Research and Translational Medicine, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou, China
Dementia is a major neurological disorder that causes disability and dependency among individuals, and so it has become a significant global problem. The prevalence of dementia among the elderly people is 4.86% worldwide . The incidence of dementia is accompanied with the ageing process of the individuals, and its prevalence is increasing worldwide . The characteristic of dementia involves a progressive declination in cognition, which in turn is associated with the loss of social and occupational functions . Moreover, patients with dementia have poor balance and gait , and gait might be a surrogate marker of cognitive impairment and decline, which could affect the dependence of activities of daily living . Furthermore, there is convincing evidence that demonstrated that both notion and depression in early life are associated with increased risk of dementia in later life, while depression in later life could be regarded as a prodrome to dementia . Although pharmacological treatments have been employed for improving cognitive function and ADL, various side effects and no disease modifications were observed in patients with dementia . Therefore, effective strategies should be explored for patients with dementia.
2. Materials and Methods
2.3. Statistical Analysis
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What Does ‘physical Activity’ Mean
The research studies in this area do not all use the same definition of ‘physical activity’ or exercise. In general they are referring to aerobic exercise performed for a sustained period of time, perhaps 2030 minutes. Most of the studies report on the effects of aerobic exercise done several times a week and maintained for at least a year.
However, physical exercise does not just mean playing a sport or running. It can also mean a daily activity such as brisk walking, cleaning or gardening. One study found that the risk of Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced by daily physical tasks such as cooking and washing up.
Exercise And Outdoor Activities For Dementia
Exercise and outdoor activities can have numerous benefits for people with dementia. They can help improve brain function and thinking skills, regulate their sleep, and can help maintain a positive mood in dementia patients and lower the risk of them developing depression. Physical activities help overall cardiac and breathing health as well.
Exercise and outdoor activities dementia patients can engage in include:
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