Nearly 1 in 10 older Veterans have dementia, which is a devastating condition that leads to a progressive loss of independence and functional status. Currently available dementia medications do not alter the disease course. Therefore, it is critically important to identify effective strategies for helping older Veterans living with dementia to enhance their functional status and quality of life. The investigators have developed a novel, integrative exercise program called Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIE) that incorporates elements from Eastern and Western exercise modalities and is designed to build and maintain the capacity to perform basic functional movements while increasing mindful body awareness and enhancing social connection. Pilot study results suggest that PLIE is associated with meaningful improvements in physical function, cognitive function and quality of life as well as reduced caregiver burden. The goal of the current study is to perform a full-scale randomized, controlled trial to test the efficacy of PLIE in older Veterans with dementia.
The goal of the proposed study is to perform a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) to test the efficacy of a novel integrative exercise program called Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIE) on function and quality of life in older Veterans living in the community with dementia. Dementia is a devastating condition that affects nearly 1 in 10 older Veterans (~1 million individuals). Current dementia medications have minimal impact on function and quality of life and do not stop or slow the disease course; however, there is growing evidence that behavioral interventions such as exercise have a variety of beneficial effects in individuals with dementia. PLIE was developed based on recent discoveries in neuroscience and experimental psychology that have found that, although explicit memory (the ability to consciously recall new information) is impaired in individuals with dementia, implicit memory (unconscious learning that typically occurs through repeated exposure) is relatively preserved. Therefore, PLIE focuses on training procedural memory (unconscious learning of procedures) to build the strength and capacity to perform the movements that are most needed for daily function (e.g., transitioning safely from sitting to standing). In addition, to maximize the benefits of the training, PLIE integrates elements of Eastern and Western exercise modalities to develop mindful body awareness and enhance social connection. The investigators have recently completed a pilot study of the PLIE program at an adult day center in San Francisco, CA, finding that it was associated with clinically meaningful improvements in cognitive function, physical performance and quality of life as well as reduced caregiver burden when compared with usual care at the facility. The current study will enable the investigators to build on these pilot study results by performing a full-scale RCT at adult day centers in Northern California. Most VA Medical Centers currently contract with community-based organizations to provide adult day care to eligible Veterans with dementia. Therefore, sites for the current study will be adult day centers that have current contracts with local VA medical centers. Within each center, study participants will be randomly assigned to receive the PLIE intervention program (1 hour, 2-3 days/week, 4 months) or Usual Care (UC) control (standard center activities, 1 hour, 2-3 days/week, 4 months) (N=120, 60/group) using a waitlist design. The co-primary outcomes are 4-month change in physical function (Short Physical Performance Battery, SPPB), cognitive function (Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale - cognitive subscale, ADAS-cog) and quality of life (Quality of Life in Alzheimer's Disease, QOL-AD). Changes in caregiver feelings (Caregiver Burden Inventory, CBI; Positive Aspects of Caregiving, PAC), fear of falling (Falls Efficacy Scale, FES), independence (Disability Assessment for Dementia, DAD) and dementia-related behaviors (Neuropsychiatric Inventory, NPI) will be examined as secondary outcomes. To account for the waitlist design, all outcomes will be assessed at baseline, 4 months and 8 months. The proposed project will address a critically important Veterans' health problem related to optimizing functional status and quality of life in older Veterans with dementia. It is directly responsive to Request for Applications (RFA) RX-14-011 (RR&D Merit Review Award for Research on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease), which has identified "pioneering new and innovative rehabilitation methodologies to restore function and improve quality of life for Veterans living with [these] neurodegenerative diseases" as a "major focus." Many patients and caregivers currently feel that little is being done to help individuals with dementia maintain function and quality of life. The current study will utilize rigorous research methods to test the efficacy of an innovative and promising new program for older adults with dementia. If the program is successful, the investigators will work with VA and community-based organizations to implement PLIE more broadly.
Dementia Alzheimer's Disease clinical trial behavioral intervention exercise complementary and alternative medicine cognition function quality of life
Inclusion criteria, primary participant:
Inclusion criteria, caregivers:
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Exclusion criteria, caregivers:
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