publicado em 07/10/2012 às 20h00:00
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Physical training and cognitive prevents rapid advance of Alzheimer's in elderly

Researchers at UNESP, Rio Claro work with specific exercise program for older adults with the disease

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Physical and cognitive training group developed by researchers at Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Rio Claro, in São Paulo, is able to prevent the rapid advancement of Alzheimer's disease and improve the quality of life for seniors and caregivers.

The research began in 2005 when the Laboratory for Physical Activity and Aging (Lafe) dedicated himself to researching the possible benefits that exercise can provide patients with Alzheimer's.

The studies were initiated with a patient 79, who six months earlier had been expressing great loss of memory and cognitive abilities. She no longer remembered the names of relatives or recognize more places, people and objects of everyday life. We realized that she was not able to track activities of other seniors, says José Luiz Costa Riani, Program Coordinator Cinesio-Functional and Cognitive Therapy for Seniors with Alzheimer's disease (PRO-CDA). However, there was no diagnosis for the evil that attacked you. The steering group has mobilized and managed to take her to the clinic of the Mental Health Hospital of Unicamp, where he was diagnosed with Alzheimer advanced degree.

During the first reviews, Sebastião Gobbi, professor in the Department of Physical Education Institute of Biosciences and coordinator of Lafe and his colleagues saw an opportunity to expand to serve a different audience and at the same time, enter a new area of ​​research. There were already studies showing the benefits of physical activity for cognition of elderly without dementia, but it was not known what the effects on those with Alzheimer's, explains Ruth Santos Ferreira-Galduróz, professor at Universidade Federal do ABC and member of PRO-CDA. The elderly received a pioneering series of exercises tailored prepared to strengthen skills such as balance, strength, agility, spatial awareness and perception.

"Maybe the improvements were caused by simple social interaction"

After four months and 36 exercise sessions, she showed improvement in all physical abilities, and cognitive decline was no longer registered. The next step was to conduct studies with more individuals in order to better observe the potential benefits of exercise in these cases. Thus was created in 2007, the CDA-PRO, an extension of group physical activities indicated only for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Then began to emerge in the first academic studies PRO-CDA. And also the first challenges. It was common to hear at conferences that were not necessarily demonstrating the benefits of sports activity, Riani says José Luiz Costa, coordinator of the PRO-CDA. Most of the elderly group was reclusive at home, in a situation of little stimulus. By attending the classes had the opportunity to walk, interact with new people, have contact with young people who teach classes ... Maybe the improvements were caused by simple social interaction, explains.

<b> Group conviviality </ b>

To answer the critics, the solution was to create a second group, also formed by Alzheimer's patients. It is called the group of social interaction, which acts as a preparatory step as well as the control group. The old newcomer to the project first undergoes this group and, after four months, becomes part of the physical activity group.

In the preparatory stage, are also offered activities that may benefit cognition, but there is no focus on exercise. After four months, members have the cognitive ability assessed. Thanks to this control group, we have been able to show that the simple social interaction can also generate improved cognitive said Riani Coast. But they are smaller than those experienced by seniors who make physical activity.

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   Palavras-chave:   Alzheimer's    Physical training    Cognitive training    Universidade Estadual Paulista    UNESP   
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