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Contemp Nurse. 2006 Feb-Mar;21(1):32-40.

A randomised controlled trial testing the impact of exercise on cognitive symptoms and disability of residents with dementia.

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  • 1School of Nursing and Health Care Practices, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia.


A randomized controlled trial was undertaken to measure effects of exercise on: 1) the progression of cognitive symptoms related to dementia using the Clock- Drawing test Shulman et al. 1993); and 2) disability using the Revised Elderly Persons Disabilities Scale (REPDS; Fleming and Bowles 1993). Data was analysed from 75 nursing home residents with dementia who were randomly assigned to one experimental group and two control groups. Group 1 (control) received no intervention, Group 2 (control) received a social visit equivalent in duration and frequency as those undertaking the exercise program in the experimental group, Group 3. A specifically designed, frail aged appropriate, twelve week exercise program was undertaken by the those in the experimental group three times per week, each session lasted for thirty minutes. The findings from: 1) the clock drawing test showed that exercise may slow the rate of progression of the cognitive symptoms related to dementia; and 2) the REPDS showed that exercise slowed and reversed disability in some of the activities of daily living.

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