The disappointing results are a setback for researchers, who had hoped an exercise program might improve people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks such as washing and dressing. ADAS-cog uses a series of tests designed to assess cognitive functions such as memory, language abilities, understanding and reasoning. After taking part in the program, people were able to walk 361.8 metres on average, an improvement of 18 metres.
Many factors could be involved. Whether dementia in these patients was too advanced to be affected by the intervention is unknown. They spent at least 20 minutes on a fixed cycle and lifted weights while getting out of a chair. They were recruited through memory clinics – specialist services that help people who have problems with their memory – and GP surgeries. While the study did not find any benefit for dementia patients, this does not mean exercise is not useful for people without dementia.