11 January 2019

In Alzheimers Research & Therapy Esther Karssemeijer and Roy Kessels from the departments of Geriatrics and Medical Psychology showed that a 12-week exergame and aerobic training improve psychomotor speed in people with dementia.

They performed a randomized controlled trial investigating the effect of exergame training and aerobic training on cognitive functioning in older adults with dementia. One hundred fifteen community-dwelling people with dementia (mean age 79.years) were trained 3 times a week during 12 weeks. Cognitive functioning was measured at baseline and after 12 weeks. A significant improvement in psychomotor speed was found in the aerobic and exergame groups compared to the active control group after 12-weeks, with a moderate effect size. This finding may be clinically relevant, as psychomotor speed is an important predictor for functional decline
No significant differences between the intervention and control groups were found for executive functioning, episodic memory and working memory.

In this study the authors also demonstrated that exergaming is a feasible  and positively rated exercise method for people with dementia, resulting in higher training adherence in the exergame group compared to the aerobic group (87.3 versus 81.1%). Accordingly, exergaming seems to be an effective method to engage people with dementia in physical exercise.

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