Monday, 29 June 2009

In an Australian first, a study will test whether physical activity can improve the memory and wellbeing of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) sufferers.

This study follows on from previous work conducted at the Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, The University of Western Australia.  This study demonstrated for the first time that a lifestyle intervention significantly improved cognitive function in Australians with memory complaints aged 50 years and older.

This new phase of the study "Fitness for the Ageing Brain Study II (FABS II) will study participants with mild to moderate AD and their cognitive response to a tailored physical activity program.

The study will be run across three states, Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland and will involve researchers from The University of Western Australia, the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland with the support of Alzheimer's Australia.

Dr Kay Cox, the FABS II Perth lead researcher from The University of Western Australia says "this study provides an exciting opportunity for those with Alzheimer's disease and their carers to be part of ground breaking research."

"To date, there is no magic bullet for AD.  The key is to look for lifestyle interventions to change the outcomes, which in turn will reduce the burden of AD," confirms Dr Kay Cox.

"Our research will also be looking at the response exercise has on participants' carers quality of life and general well being," says Dr Kay Cox.

People living at home, with mild to moderate AD, and their carers are needed to participate in this study in the metropolitan areas of Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The program will involve a range of physical activities for up to 150 minutes per week.  Participants will have personalised training programs and be assessed on their activity using a pedometer, their ability to walk distances, how quickly they can get out a chair, and their ability to grip objects.

To participate contact Alzheimer's Australia on 1300 MY MIND or 1300 69 64 63.  The study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Media references

Dr Kay Cox (UWA Perth Team Leader)  (+61 8)  9224 0237
Christianne White (WA Centre for Health and Ageing)  (+61 8)  9224 2993  /  (+61 4) 15 213 661
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs)  (+61 8)  6488 5563  /  (+61 4) 32 637 716


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