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2016 Grants - Middleton
How Do We Get People with MCI and Dementia to be Physically Active?
Laura Elizabeth Middleton, Ph.D.
University of Waterloo
2016 New Investigator Research Grant
What is the best way to deliver an exercise program for people with cognitive impairment or dementia?
Research suggests that physical activity may help slow declines in brain function and improve overall health in people with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment (also known as MCI, a condition that may precede Alzheimer’s). Many people with Alzheimer’s or MCI have memory problems, depression, balance problems and mobility impairments than can be barriers to participating in standard exercise programs. Thus, there is a need for novel exercise therapies that more effectively target this population.
For their research grant, Laura Elizabeth Middleton, Ph.D., and colleagues will administer a three-month exercise program to 60 participants with MCI or early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Participants will receive the program in one of two ways: (1) in a group setting at a university rehabilitation center or (2) privately in their own homes. Dr. Middleton’s team will then compare the program’s success with each “delivery method” — focusing on how well the participants completed the program, how significantly their mental and physical health was improved, and the cost effectiveness of the program. In addition, the researchers will receive feedback about their program from the participants themselves helping to provide better outcomes.
The results of this study could shed new light on how delivery of a physical activity intervention may improve brain health and quality-of-life for those with dementia or MCI. They could also lead to novel ways of bringing cost-effective exercise therapies to a broader range of people with Alzheimer’s disease.