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A multicenter controlled study for dementia prevention through physical, cognitive and social activities – GESTALT-kompakt

Authors Streber A, Abu-Omar K, Hentschke C, Rütten A

Received 5 May 2017

Accepted for publication 4 September 2017

Published 14 December 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 2109—2121


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Anna Streber, Karim Abu-Omar, Christian Hentschke, Alfred Rütten

Department of Sport Science and Sport, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology, Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany

Abstract: Prevention of dementia is a public health priority. Physical activity (PA) can reduce the risk of dementia, but the majority of people remain sedentary. We conducted a multicenter controlled study with older adults (60+ years). We hypothesized that an evidence-based PA intervention – GEhen, Spielen und Tanzen Als Lebenslange Tätigkeiten – kompakt [walking, playing and dancing as lifelong activities-compact] (GESTALT-kompakt) – would lead to significantly larger improvements in PA levels (step counts/Fitbit Zip™), cognitive functions (DemTect) and social activities (Social Activity Log), compared to an active control group. Data were collected at baseline and after 3 and 12 months. The intervention group received a 12-week (1/week) multimodal and multicomponent PA program, which combined PA with cognitive and social activities. The control group received either regular gymnastics or cognitive training (1/week). A mixed linear model was chosen for analysis. A total of 87 older individuals were recruited in the GESTALT-kompakt study (68 females, average age =76.0 years, SD ±9.2, range 52–95 years). Marginally significant differences were observed in the intervention group (n=57) in comparison to the control group (n=30), regarding improvements in PA (difference of mean changes =866.4 steps, p=0.055) after 3 months. However, their PA decreased to the baseline score value after 12 months (-866.0 steps, p=0.061). GESTALT-kompakt did not cause significant differences in cognitive functioning (-0.8620, p=0.074) and social activities (-0.2428, p=0.288) in comparison to the control intervention from T0 to T1. Sixteen (24.2%) study participants who finished T2 reported a negative life event during the follow-up period, which severely influenced their PA behavior. GESTALT-kompakt might be effective in increasing PA in the short term, but did not have a long-term impact on the PA levels, cognitive functions or social activities of the participants. We recommend PA programs with longer duration to change behavior in the long term.

Keywords: aging, intervention, physical activity program, cognitive function, social activity, dementia

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