Exercise may cut risk of falling in seniors with neuropsychiatric symptoms
In community-dwelling elderly adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS), physical exercise appears to reduce the risk of falling, a recent study has shown.
Researchers enrolled 179 elderly adults with AD who completed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Participants were randomly assigned to receive an exercise intervention (n=120; mean age 77.6±5.3 years; 63.3 percent male) or the usual community care control (n=59; mean age 78.1±5.3 years; 57.6 percent male).
Thirty-six percent (n=43) of those randomized to the intervention group fell in the year prior to the trial. This was not significantly different from that in the control group (46 percent; n=27; p=0.20). In contrast, fall rate was significantly elevated in the control vs intervention group during the same year of the trial (2.87 vs 1.48 falls per person-year; incidence rate ratio, 0.48; 95 percent CI, 0.39–0.60; p<0.001).
Moreover, researchers observed a clear and linear relationship between fall incidence and NPI score in the control group (p=0.009 for interaction). Such an interaction was absent in the intervention group.
These findings were in spite of comparable baseline characteristics. Mini-Mental State Examination Scores were statistically similar between the intervention and control groups (18.8±6.3 vs 17.8±6.0; p=0.17), as were scores in the Short Physical Performance Battery (9.7±2.2 vs 9.9±2.0; p=0.70).
The findings of the present study thus indicate that exercise appears to have a protective effect against the risk of falls attributable to NPS, said researchers. However, future studies should investigate this relationship more carefully.