Seminar Details

The effect of exercise on behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia: a review of the literature using a rapid critical interpretive approach
Thursday, 16th February 2012
1pm - 2pm (12.45 for sandwiches)
Seminar Room 2, PCPH, Upper 3rd Floor, UCL (Royal Free Campus)
Speaker: Dr Ingela Thuné-Boyle
Details: Behavioural and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) are common and are core symptoms of the condition. They cause considerable distress to the person with dementia and their carers and predict early institutionalisation and death. Historically, these symptoms have been managed with anxiolytic and antipsychotic medication. Although potentially effective, such medication has been used too widely and is associated with serious adverse side-effects and increased mortality. Consequently, there is a need to evaluate non-pharmacological therapies for behavioural and psychological symptoms in this population. One such therapy is physical activity which has wide-spread health benefits. This review summarises the current findings of the efficacy of physical activity on BPSD. Published articles were identified using electronic and manual searches. Rather than systematically aggregating data, this review adopted a rapid critical interpretive approach to synthesis of the literature. Exercise appears to be beneficial in reducing some BPSD, especially depressed mood, agitation and wandering, and may also improve night-time sleep. Evidence of the efficacy of exercise on improving other symptoms such as anxiety, apathy and repetitive behaviours is currently weak or lacking. The beneficial effect of exercise type, its duration and frequency is unclear although some studies suggest that walking for at least 30 minutes, several times a week may enhance outcome. The substantial methodological shortcomings of current work in this area will be discussed.

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