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  • New in the Literature: Exercise May Delay Physical Decline in Alzheimer Patients (JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Apr 15:1-8. [Epub ahead of print])

    Finnish researchers reported that an intensive, long-term exercise program was beneficial to the physical functioning of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) without increasing total costs of health and social services or causing any significant adverse effects. The implications are promising, if increased, targeted exercise would allow more patients to remain at home or delay a move to a care facility.

    The study included 210 home-dwelling patients with AD living with their spousal caregivers, divided into 3 groups: group-based exercise, tailored home-based exercise, and "usual community care." Both exercise groups were led by physical therapists who tailored the exercise to the patients' needs. The group-based exercise group attended twice-a-week classes, while a physical therapist visited the home-based group for 1 hour twice a week.

    After 1 year, the home-exercise and group-exercise subjects had significantly less deterioration in function and significantly fewer falls than the control subjects, with the home-exercise group faring the best. The main outcome measures used included the Functional Independence Measure, Short Physical Performance Battery, and information on the use and costs of social and health care services.

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