HealthDay (4/16, Goodman) reports, “Regular exercise slows disability and prevents falls in patients with Alzheimer’s disease without increasing overall costs,” according to a study published online April 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine. “For the study…researchers chose more than 200 patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease who were living at home with a caregiver and showing signs of physical decline. The patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: home exercise, group exercise at a day care center, or a control group that got usual care through the Finnish national health care system.”
MedPage Today (4/16, Smith) reports that in the “randomized, controlled trial, supervised exercise, whether at home or at a day care center, slowed physical deterioration.” In addition, “the costs for patients in the exercise programs were similar or lower than those associated with a control program of usual community care,” the study found. An accompanying commentary “concluded that the study suggests the ‘good news’ of a benefit from exercise may apply even to people ‘well into the process of decline.'”
Small Study: Exercise May Help Stave Off Problems In Memory, Thinking. On its “Morning Edition” program and in its “Shots” blog, NPR (4/15, Neighmond) reported that exercise may help “stave off problems in memory and thinking.” Neuroscientist Art Kramer, director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the University of Illinois, performed “a study in which he scanned the brains of 120 older adults, half of whom started a program of moderate aerobic exercise – just 45 minutes, three days a week, mostly walking. After a year, the MRI scans showed that for the aerobic group, the volume of their brains actually increased,” whereas people in “the control group lost about 1.5 percent of their brain volume.” The study results appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
— “Exercise May Help People With Alzheimer’s Avoid Nursing Homes, “Brenda Goodman, HealthDay, April 15, 2013.