Effects of Short-Term Exercise Interventions on Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms in Patients with Dementia: A Systematic Review

Tim Fleiner, Stefan Leucht, Hans Förstl, Wiebren Zijlstra, Peter Haussermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Observational and interventional studies indicate a direct link between the patients' physical activity and the extent of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). At present, there are no evidence-based recommendations for physical exercise in the acute dementia care settings. Hence, this systematic review investigates the effects of short-term exercise trials on BPSD. Trials with a length up to three months investigating the effects of structured exercise interventions on BPSD in acute dementia care settings were included. Five trials, referring to a total of N = 206 patients, met the inclusion criteria. The trial durations ranged from three up to twelve weeks. All trials conducted three sessions per week of 30 to 45 minutes. Three trials reported significant reductions of BPSD and differences in comparison to the pre-test and control groups. Out of the three trials investigating the effects of exercise interventions on depressive symptoms, one reported significant reduction and two reported no differences in pre-post analysis. Exercise represents a potentially worthwhile approach for the treatment of patients suffering from BPSD. Given the scarcity of available studies, more randomized controlled short-term exercise trials in acute dementia care settings are needed to define appropriate exercise recommendations for clinicians treating these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1583-1594
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavioral symptoms
  • dementia
  • exercise
  • geriatric psychiatry
  • specialized hospitals

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