Alzheimer's DementiaElderlyPsychosisTai Chi

Targeted exercise programs in geriatric institutionalized people

Researchers from Faculté des Sciences du Sport, in Bordeaux, France compared the response to 2 exercise programs vs usual care.

First, the details.

  • 160 elderly institutionalized people were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 6 months.
    • Adapted tai chi program (4 times 30 minutes/week)
    • Cognition-action program (2 times 30 to 45 minutes/week) that focused primarily on an adapted guidance of patient-centered communication skills
    • Usual care
  • Changes in health-related quality of life based on activities of daily living and Neuropsychiatric Inventory scores after 12 months.

And, the results.

  • The control group experienced a decline in activities of daily activities, which did not differ from the adapted tai chi and cognition-action groups.
  • The total Neuropsychiatric Inventory score worsened significantly in the control group, while it was unchanged or improved in the treatment groups.
  • Differences between the cognition-action group and control group were significant.
  • Neuropsychiatric diagnosis subgroups (such as dementia and psychosis) did not change with any treatment.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Adapted exercise programs can slow down the decline in health-related quality of life among heterogeneous, institutionalized elderly persons.

The results reported here are marginal from a practical point of view.

However, others have presented evidence that tai chi, and keeping active have benefits.

3/25/10 20:23 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.