Exercise as it relates to Disease/Alzheimer's and the effect of physical activity

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Alzheimer's and the effect of physical activity/ This is an analysis of a journal article looking at the effect that physical activity can have on people who are in the initial stages of cognitive decline.

1. What is the background to this research?[edit]

The background to this research is derived from the statement that physical activity is known to help reduce the effects of chronic disease, and in this case the impact that physical activity has on cognitive performance, and exactly how its beneficial. There is numerous research that has proven the fact that physical activity and exercise on a regular basis is known to provide many health benefits. What needs to be defined more is the extent of how physical activity can improve an already declining cognitive ability in older adults

2. Where is the research from?[edit]

The research was taken from the premise that physical activity is known to have many benefits, and in this case, reduce the rate of cognitive decline in older adults. The research is gathered through a randomized trial, the trial was a physical activity intervention that was conducted over 24-weeks. The trial was carried out over 2004-2007 in Western Australia. The Assessors that conducted the experiment were blind to the conditions of the group members to allow for an unbiased observation.

3. What kind of research was this?[edit]

It was a qualitative study that used surveys to assess participant’s physical activity levels. They used Community Health Activities program for seniors. They were asked to complete the survey 2 twice throughout the screening to gain the baseline data. To assess participants cognitive function, they used Alzheimer’s disease assessment scale (ADAS-cog). The test collects information on their memory, language, and praxis, the scores were scaled from 0-70. Throughout the trial the participants also had to take part in a phone interview a couple of times per week to ensure they were staying on track and completing the required activities.

4. What did the research involve?[edit]

The initial stage of the randomized trial required the participants who were over 50 to be screened over the phone, those who scored below 19 out of 50 were removed from the trial due significance of their cognitive impairment. The participants were also graded on their mental stage prior to commencing the trial, those who scored 6 or more on a scale of 15 were also removed from the study as they were classed with clinically depressive symptoms. There were other factors that lead to the volunteers being excluded from the study such as excessive alcohol consumption, and other health issues. Out of 311 participants, 89 were not eligible and 52 had declined the offer to participate. Which left a total of 170 of the participant randomized and 138 participants had to completed an 18-month assessment. After the base-line assessment had been completed the participants were randomly assigned to either the physical activity program or usual care control according to the number that the computer had generated in random blocks of 8, the participants were assigned in groups of 4 into each of the categories. The assessors that were conducting the trial were also independent of each other and were blind so that it wouldn’t interfere with the two categories. The aim of the physical intervention had the participants in the group perform 150 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week. This was broken up into three 50 minute sessions per week. To assess the participants throughout the study, they would complete a diary of the physical activity throughout the week and monitored it to make sure that they were performing the required amount of physical activity needed for the study.

5. What were the basic results?[edit]

Participants who were involved in the intervention group which was the group that the assessors had intended to treat, showed an improvement of 0.26 points which correlated to a 95% confidence interval, while the usual care group, which had no physical intervention had declined 1.04 points. The overall difference between the intervention and the usual care group was -1.3 points. At the end of the 18 month trial the intervention group had continued to improve to an overall score of 0.73.

6. What conclusions can we take from this research?[edit]

The conclusion that came out of this study of adults who were suffering from subjective memory impairment was that, after they had completed a 6-month physical activity program they had showed a slight improvement in their cognitive ability and did so throughout the 18 month follow up period.

7. Practicle Advice[edit]

The practical advice that can be taken from a study such as this and any other trial that’s considering the benefits of physical activity, is that doing physical activity has proven to show significant improvement for overall health. The earlier you incorporate physical activity into your daily life the more health benefits you stand to gain. It decreases the onset of chronic diseases and reduces the rate of cognitive decline.

8. Further information/resources?[edit]

For further information please visit the following.

Physical activity guidelines for older adults http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/physical-activity-guidelines-for-older-adults.aspx

10 ways to boost your cognitive fitness and longevity http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-kravetz/10-ways-to-boost-your-cognitive-fitness_b_3195153.html

physical activity and overcoming the barriers https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-overcoming-the-barriers

9. References[edit]

Lautenschläger N, Cox L, Flicker L, et al. Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for Alzheimer disease, A randomised trial. Journal article, cited 10 September 2017. Available from: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/182502

Physical activity guidelines for older adults, cited 22 September 2017. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/pages/physical activity-guidelines-for-older-adults.aspx.

Physical activity-overcoming the barriers, cited 22 September 2017. Available from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/physical-activity-overcoming-the-barriers

10 ways to Boost your cognitive fitness and longevity, cited 23 September 2017. Available from:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-kravetz/10-ways-to-boost-your-cognitive-fitness_b_3195153.html