A randomized controlled trial by Kaisu H. Pitkala, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues suggests an intensive and long-term exercise program has beneficial effects on the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer Disease without increasing costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects. (Online First)
A total of 210 home-dwelling patients with Alzheimer Disease (AD) living with their spouse caregiver participated in the trial. The 3 trial groups included group-based exercise (GE; 4-hour sessions with approximately 1-hour training), tailored home-based exercise (HE; 1-hour training), both twice a week for one year, and a control group (CG) receiving the usual community care.
All groups deteriorated in functioning during the year after randomization, but deterioration was significantly faster in the CG than in the HE or GE group at 6 and 12 months. The total costs of health and social services for the HE patient-caregiver dyads were $25,112, $22,066 in the GE group, and $34,121 in the CG, the study finds.
“In conclusion, this study demonstrates that exercise administrated at the patient’s home may attenuate the deleterious effects of AD on physical functioning,” the study concludes.
Authors made a conflict of interest disclosure. This study was supported by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Central Union for the Welfare of the Aged, the Sohlberg Foundation, and King Gustaf V and Queen Victoria’s Foundation. Please see article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.
Exercise in Alzheimer Disease Comment on “Effects of the Finnish Alzheimer Disease Exercise Trial (FINALEX): A Randomized Controlled Trial”, A. Mark Clarfield, MD, FRCPC; Tzvi Dwolatzky, MD, MBBCh,JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-2. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1215.