Vol. 2 nº 3 - Jul/Aug/Set de 2008
Original Article Páginas: 233 a 240

Effects of functional physical activity on the maintenance of motor function in Alzheimer's disease

Authors Laís Fajersztajn1, Renata Cereda Cordeiro2, Solange Andreoni3, Jacqueline Takayanagi Garcia4


keywords: motor function, Alzheimer's disease, balance, physical activity, physiotherapy.

It is widely known that older adults, even frail individuals, can improve their physical function using appropriately targeted exercise. Nevertheless, older adults with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been excluded from the majority of studies on exercise. The functional-task physical activity program is based on activities of daily living, and may be suited for elderly people with AD because it focuses on the maintenance and stimulation of preserved abilities. In addition, session costs are substantially reduced by adopting a group approach. Furthermore, the group approach may improve the social interaction of the demented patient. Objectives: To determine whether a functional-task physical activity program in groups can maintain motor function in elderly with AD. Methods: 10 elderly diagnosed with mild or moderate AD were assigned into one of two groups: subjects with and without intervention. The intervention consisted of a 12-week function-task physical activity program in groups. Measurements: activities of daily living (Katz and Lawton & Brody questionnaires), mobility (Timed Up and Go Test, Timed Up and Go manual Test and Timed Up and Go Cognitive Test), cognition (Mini-Mental State Examination), behavioral disturbances (Neuropsychiatric Inventory I-brief) and functional balance (Berg Balance Scale). Results: A statistically significant difference between the two groups was found regarding the functional balance mean change measured by Berg scale score (p=0.046). A significant improvement of 1.60 points (95%CI[0.22;2.98]) was observed in the intervention group on this scale, while the non-intervention group showed -0.40 points (95%CI[-1.78;0.98], no change). Conclusions: It is possible to treat mild and moderate Alzheimer's patients using a group approach. The functional task physical activity program was efficient in functional balance improvement and also appeared to prevent mobility decline.


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