Physical activity programmes for community dwelling people with mild to moderate dementia (DAPA – Dementia And Physical Activity)
Professor Sally Lamb, University of Warwick clinical trials unit.
January 2013 to July 2015
Does a programme of exercise and physical activity improve cognition for people with mild to moderate dementia?
The DAPA trial ran at a number of venues including the Centre for Exercise and Health. The trial aimed to investigate whether a specialised programme of exercise and physical activity had an effect on the memory and understanding of people with mild to moderate dementia when compared to usual care. The principal outcome measure was the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-cognition (ADAS-cog), alongside the Bristol Activities of Daily Living scale, with other measures looking at quality of life, carer burden, behavioural and psychiatric symptoms, as well as costs.
The sample size was set at 700+, with about two thirds of those randomised to the exercise intervention. Each group had about 6 people and the majority of the classes in Coventry took place at Atrium’s new Centre for Exercise and Health in Watch Close. In addition Atrium staff helped administer the exercise intervention. Other local regions that recruited included, – Wolston, Rugby, Nuneaton, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire and Berkshire.
The specially designed exercise programme was set at moderate to hard intensity (progressive aerobic and resistance training) and consisted of two 1-hour weekly sessions over a period of 4 months.
DAPA trial participants training at Atrium after the trial finished, were supported to increase their independent physical activity.DAPA participants and their carers were encouraged to attend main exercise program supervised by our exercise team. More challenging sufferers were directed to a group exercise session ‘Move to improve’ held weekly at the Centre for Exercise and Health and subsidised by Age UK Coventry the study. In this fashion the trial has alreadyhad a lasting legacy. Results will be published in the near future.