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Rev Bras Fisioter. 2010 Jan-Feb;14(1):68-74.

[Effects of physical activity on cognitive functions, balance and risk of falls in elderly patients with Alzheimer's dementia].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Laboratório de Atividade Física e Envelhecimento, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Rio Claro, SP, Brasil.



To analyze the effects of regular, systematic and supervised activity on the cognitive functions, balance and risk of falls of elderly patients with Alzheimer's Dementia (AD).


Sixteen elderly patients (mean age 78.5+/-6.8 years) were divided into two groups: intervention group (IG; n=9) and routine group (RG; n=7). The IG exercised systematically for six months, and both groups were submitted to the following tests: Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), Timed Up-and-Go (TUG) and the agility/dynamic balance (AGIBAL) item of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) test battery.


There was a statistically significant interaction (two-way ANOVA; F1,14=32.07; p=0.01) between groups and moments for the AGIBAL. The Mann Whitney U test indicated significant differences between groups (p=0.03), only at the post-intervention moment for the TUG measured in steps and for BBS. Therefore, no significant intergroup differences were found for the TUG, BBS and MMSE at the pre-intervention moment or at post-intervention moment for the TUG measured in seconds and MMSE. The intragroup analysis by means of the Wilcoxon test showed a significant decline in the TUG, BBS and MMSE for the RG, but not for the IG. Spearman's coefficient showed a significant correlation between the results of the MMSE and AGIBAL.


Physical activity may be an important non-pharmacological approach that can benefit cognitive functions and balance and reduce the risk of falls. Moreover, agility and balance are associated with cognitive functions in elderly patients with AD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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