A study led by Dr. Linda Teri, director of education and information transfer for the UW ADRC, was published in the October 15, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). JAMA is the leading journal on medical research. The study, referred to as RDAD – Reducing Disabilities in Alzheimer’s Disease, was one of the first studies to evaluate whether a home-based exercise program combined with caregiver training in behavioral management techniques would reduce physical dependence and delay institutionalization of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Other UW investigators who contributed to the investigation and are co-authors on the paper are Drs. Laura Gibbons, Susan McCurry, Rebecca Logsdon, David Buchner, William Barlow, Walter Kukull, Andrea LaCroix, Wayne McCormick, and Eric Larson.
In the RDAD study, 153 community-dwelling AD patients and their caregivers were randomly assigned to an exercise and caregiver training program (RDAD), or to routine medical care (RMC). The RDAD program was conducted in the participants’ homes for three months. After three months, the RDAD group was significantly more likely to exercise at least 60 minutes a week, and had fewer days of restricted activity, compared to the RMC group. RDAD participants also had improved physical role functioning and fewer symptoms of depression, while those in RMC were worse in both areas. At two years, RDAD participants continued to have better physical role functioning than RMC participants, and were less likely to have been placed in a nursing home due to behavioral disturbance. For participants with higher depression scores at baseline, those in RDAD improved significantly more than those in RMC and maintained their improvement at two years. The study concluded that exercise training combined with teaching caregivers behavioral management techniques improved physical health and depression in participants with Alzheimer’s disease.
The full research article can be found at: Teri L, Gibbons LE, McCurry SM, Logsdon RG, Buchner DM, Barlow WE, Kukull WA, LaCroix AZ, McCormick W, Larson EB.
Exercise plus behavioral management in patients with Alzheimer disease. JAMA. 2003, 290, (15), pp 2015-2022. or at