Study shows people with Alzheimer's can benefit from exercise combined with caregiver training

CHICAGO, October 15, 2003 A new study, published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) by a recipient of the Alzheimer's Association's Pioneer Award, demonstrates that a regular exercise program combined with caregiver education and training on supervising exercise improved the physical and emotional health of individuals with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease.

"Through programs of exercise and caregiver training, such as the one demonstrated in this study, people with Alzheimer's may be able to maintain their physical health and share more positive interactions with their caregivers. That is potentially a big quality of life improvement for patients, caregivers, and family members in fact, everyone touched by this devastating disease," said Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., of the Alzheimer's Association Medical & Scientific Advisory Council.

"This research is consistent with the Alzheimer's Association's emphasis on social and behavioral research as a way to enable people coping with Alzheimer's to better manage the disease and maximize their quality of life," said Jennifer Ward-Robinson, Ph.D., Director, Medical & Scientific Affairs for the Alzheimer's Association.

"We want to demonstrate scientifically the effectiveness of procedures used in daily care and management of people with Alzheimer's disease. We've heard repeatedly from caregivers that these low tech but high impact techniques can help prevent challenging behaviors, enhance independence, and delay institutionalization for people with Alzheimer's disease," Ward-Robinson said. "These results from a well conducted clinical trial provide solid evidence for the value of these non-pharmaceutical interventions, and show us avenues for ongoing evidence-based research into similar therapeutic approaches."

In the study, 153 patient-caregiver pairs were randomly assigned to a combined exercise and caregiver training program, known as Reduci

Contact: Niles Frantz
Alzheimer's Association

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