Twelve-week physical and leisure activity programme improved cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly subjects: A randomized controlled trial

Citation: Kamegaya, T., Araki, Y., Kigure, H., & Yamaguchi, H. (2014). Twelve-week physical and leisure activity programme improved cognitive function in community-dwelling elderly subjects: A randomized controlled trial. Psychogeriatrics, 14(1), 47-54.

Research Type: Randomized Control Trial

Abstract: Background: Japan is one of the most rapidly ageing societies in the world. A number of municipalities have started services for the prevention of cognitive decline for community-dwelling elderly individuals, but the effectiveness of these services is currently insufficient. Our study explored the efficacy of a comprehensive intervention programme consisting of physical and leisure activities to prevent cognitive decline in community-dwelling elderly subjects. Method: We administered a 12-week intervention programme consisting of physical and leisure activities aimed at enhancing participants’ motivation to participate and support one another by providing a pleasant atmosphere, empathetic communication, praise, and errorless support. This programme for the prevention of cognitive decline was conducted as a service by the city of Maebashi. All participants underwent the Five-Cog test, which evaluated the cognitive domains of attention, memory, visuospatial function, language, and reasoning. Executive function was evaluated by the Wechsler Digit Symbol Substitution Test and Yamaguchi Kanji-Symbol Substitution Test. Subjective health status, level of social support, functional capacity, subjective quality of life, and depressive symptoms were assessed with a questionnaire. Grip strength test, timed up-and-go test, 5-m maximum walking times test, and functional reach test were performed to evaluate physical function. Fifty-two participants were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 26) and control (n = 26) groups. Twenty-six participants, aged between 65–87 years, received intervention once a week at a community centre. The programme was conducted by health-care professionals, with the help of senior citizen volunteers. Results: The intervention group (n = 19) showed significant improvement on the analogy task of the Five-Cog test (F1,38 = 4.242, P = 0.046) and improved quality of life (F1,38 = 4.773, P = 0.035) as compared to the control group (n = 24). Conclusion: A community-based 12-week intervention programme that aimed to enhance motivation to participate in activities resulted in improvements in some aspects of cognitive function and quality of life. Senior citizens who volunteered in the present intervention enabled the smooth implementation of the programme and alleviated the burden on professional staff. Link to publisher’s article.

The potential for mindfulness-based intervention in workplace mental health promotion: Results of a randomized control trial

Citation: Huang, S., Li, R., Huang, F., & Tang, F. (2015). The potential for mindfulness-based intervention in workplace mental health promotion: Results of a randomized control trial. PLoS ONE, 10(9), e0138089.

Research Type: Randomized Control Trial

Abstract: Objectives: This study aims to intensively evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) on mental illness risks (including psychological distress, prolonged fatigue, and perceived stress) and job strain (job control and job demands) for employees with poor mental health. Methods: A longitudinal research design was adopted. In total, 144 participants were randomized to the intervention group or the control group. The intervention group participated in MBI for eight weeks. Measurements were collected for both groups at five time points: at pre-intervention (T1), at mid-intervention (T2), at the completion of intervention (T3), four weeks after intervention (T4), and eight weeks after intervention (T5). Data were analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle. A linear mixed model with two levels was employed to analyze the repeated measurement data. Results: Compared with the control group, the intercepts (means at T3) for the intervention group were significantly lower on psychological distress, prolonged fatigue, and perceived stress when MBI was completed. Even with the demographic variables controlled, the positive effects remained. For growth rates of prolonged fatigue and perceived stress, participants in the intervention group showed a steeper decrease than did the participants in the control group. Regarding job strain, although the intercept (mean at T3) of job demands showed a significant decline when BMI was completed, the significance disappeared when the demographic variables were controlled. Moreover, the other results for job control and job demands did not show promising findings. Conclusion: As a workplace health promotion program, the MBI seems to have potential in improving mental illness risks for employees with poor mental health. However, there was insufficient evidence to support its effect on mitigating job strain. Further research on maintaining the positive effects on mental health for the long term and on developing innovative MBI to suit job strain are recommended. Link to full article.

Examining the impact of a multi-sport camp for girls ages 8-11 with autism spectrum disorder

Citation: Guest, L., & Balogh, R., Dogra, S., & Lloyd. (2017).  Examining the impact of a multi-sport camp for girls ages 8-11 with autism spectrum disorder. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 51 (2), 109-126.

Research Type: Other Quantitative Research Design

Abstract: Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased significantly over the past decade; however, rarely does research focus solely on girls with ASD.
Girls with ASD are more likely to have less proficient motor skills than both their peers with typical development, and boys with and without ASD. This further discourages participation in sport, recreation, and leisure activities and deprives the opportunity to develop social skills among peers; both of which are primary goals of therapeutic recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a multi-sport camp intervention aimed at improving motor skills, physical activity levels, physical self-perceptions, and adaptive behaviour of 13 girls with ASD between the ages of 8 to 11. Results indicated that the camp was effective at improving motor skills (p<0.0001), physical self-perceptions (p=0.044) and social skills (p=0.005); however, further research with larger samples and a longer duration of intervention is necessary. Link to publisher’s article.

For how many days and what types of group activities should older Japanese adults be involved in to maintain health? A 4-year longitudinal study

Citation: Nonaka K, Suzuki H, Murayama H, Hasebe M, Koike T, Kobayashi E, et al. (2017). For how many days and what types of group activities should older Japanese adults be involved in to maintain health? A 4-year longitudinal study. PLoS ONE12(9): e0183829.

Type of Research: Other Quantitative Research Design

Abstract: Objective: Studies have suggested that frequent participation in social groups contributes to the well-being of older people. The primary aim of this study was to identify the number of days older adults should participate in the activities of social groups to maintain their health for 4 years. This study also aimed to examine whether the effective frequency differs by the type of social group activity. Method: We examined a prospective cohort of 1,320 community-dwelling older adults over 65 years of age, who responded to both a baseline and a follow-up mail survey, in a suburban city of Tokyo, Japan. The dependent variable was the change in functional competence during 4 years. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the effects of participation in the activities of the 5 most common social groups among older Japanese on maintaining functional competence. Results: Nine hundred and ninety-four participants (76.5%) maintained their functional competence for 4 years. The results of the logistic regression analyses showed that participating in alumni groups less than once a month and being an inactive member were associated with higher odds of maintaining functional competence, after controlling for socioeconomic, demographic and baseline health status. Additionally, the odds of maintaining functional competence for 4 years increased upon participating in volunteer groups once a month or more. These results were also confirmed using logistic regression analysis, even after adjustment for the effects of participation in other social groups. Discussion: The results indicated the effectiveness of volunteer activities that fulfill a social role in maintaining health. Therefore, older adults should be encouraged to participate in activities of volunteer groups at least once a month. Additionally, older adults can obtain positive health outcomes through less frequent participation in alumni groups, compared with the activities of volunteer groups. Link to full article.

Barriers and facilitators to the uptake and maintenance of healthy behaviours by people at mid-life: A rapid systematic review

Citation: Kelly, S., Martin, S., Kuhn, I., Cowan, A., Brayne, C., & Lafortune, L. (2016). Barriers and facilitators to the uptake and maintenance of healthy behaviours by people at mid-life: A rapid systematic review. PLoS ONE 11(1): e0145074.

Research Type: Systematic Review

Abstract: Background: With an ageing population, there is an increasing societal impact of ill health in later life. People who adopt healthy behaviours are more likely to age successfully. To engage people in health promotion initiatives in mid-life, a good understanding is needed of why people do not undertake healthy behaviours or engage in unhealthy ones. Methods: Searches were conducted to identify systematic reviews and qualitative or longitudinal cohort studies that reported mid-life barriers and facilitators to healthy behaviours. Mid-life ranged from 40 to 64 years, but younger adults in disadvantaged or minority groups were also eligible to reflect potential earlier disease onset. Two reviewers independently conducted reference screening and study inclusion. Included studies were assessed for quality. Barriers and facilitators were identified and synthesised into broader themes to allow comparisons across behavioural risks. Findings: From 16,426 titles reviewed, 28 qualitative studies, 11 longitudinal cohort studies and 46 systematic reviews were included. Evidence was found relating to uptake and maintenance of physical activity, diet and eating behaviours, smoking, alcohol, eye care, and other health promoting behaviours and grouped into six themes: health and quality of life, sociocultural factors, the physical environment, access, psychological factors, evidence relating to health inequalities. Most of the available evidence was from developed countries. Barriers that recur across different health behaviours include lack of time (due to family, household and occupational responsibilities), access issues (to transport, facilities and resources), financial costs, entrenched attitudes and behaviours, restrictions in the physical environment, low socioeconomic status, lack of knowledge. Facilitators include a focus on enjoyment, health benefits including healthy ageing, social support, clear messages, and integration of behaviours into lifestyle. Specific issues relating to population and culture were identified relating to health inequalities. Conclusions:
The barriers and facilitators identified can inform the design of tailored interventions for people in mid-life. Link to full article.

A yoga program for cognitive enhancement

Citation: Brunner, .D, Abramovitch, A., Etherton, .J (2017).  A yoga program for cognitive enhancement. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0182366.

Type of Research: Other Quantitative Research Design

Abstract: Background: Recent studies suggest that yoga practice may improve cognitive functioning. Although preliminary data indicate that yoga improves working memory (WM), high-resolution information about the type of WM subconstructs, namely maintenance and manipulation, is not available. Furthermore, the association between cognitive enhancement and improved mindfulness as a result of yoga practice requires empirical examination. The aim of the present study is to assess the impact of a brief yoga program on WM maintenance, WM manipulation and attentive mindfulness. Methods: Measures of WM (Digit Span Forward, Backward, and Sequencing, and Letter-Number Sequencing) were administered prior to and following 6 sessions of yoga (N = 43). Additionally, the Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale was administered to examine the potential impact of yoga practice on mindfulness, as well as the relationships among changes in WM and mindfulness. Results: Analyses revealed significant improvement from pre- to post- training assessment on both maintenance WM (Digit Span Forward) and manipulation WM (Digit Span Backward and Letter-Number Sequencing). No change was found on Digit Span Sequencing. Improvement was also found on mindfulness scores. However, no correlation was observed between mindfulness and WM measures. Conclusions: A 6-session yoga program was associated with improvement on manipulation and maintenance WM measures as well as enhanced mindfulness scores. Additional research is needed to understand the extent of yoga-related cognitive enhancement and mechanisms by which yoga may enhance cognition, ideally by utilizing randomized controlled trials and more comprehensive neuropsychological batteries. Link to full article.

Behavioral intervention to reduce opioid overdose among high-risk persons with opioid use disorder

Citation: Coffin, P., Santos, G., Matheson, T., Behar, E., Rubin, T., Silvis, J., & Vittinghoff, E. (2017) Behavioral intervention to reduce opioid overdose among high-risk persons with opioid use disorder. PLoS ONE, 12(10), e0183354.

Research Type: Randomized Control Trial

Abstract: Objective: The United States is amidst an opioid epidemic, including synthetic opioids that may result in rapid death, leaving minimal opportunity for bystander rescue. We pilot tested a behavioral intervention to reduce the occurrence of opioid overdose among opioid dependent persons at high-risk for subsequent overdose. Materials and methods: We conducted a single-blinded randomized-controlled trial of a repeated dose motivational interviewing intervention (REBOOT) to reduce overdose versus treatment as usual, defined as information and referrals, over 16 months at the San Francisco Department of Public Health from 2014–2016. Participants were 18–65 years of age, had opioid use disorder by Structured Clinical Interview, active opioid use, opioid overdose within 5 years, and prior receipt of naloxone kits. The intervention was administered at months 0, 4, 8, and 12, preceded by the assessment which was also administered at month 16. Dual primary outcomes were any overdose event and number of events, collected by computer-assisted personal interview, as well as any fatal overdose events per vital records. Results: A total of 78 persons were screened and 63 enrolled. Mean age was 43 years, 67% were born male, 65% White, 17% African-American, and 14% Latino. Ninety-two percent of visits and 93% of counseling sessions were completed. At baseline, 33.3% of participants had experienced an overdose in the past four months, with a similar mean number of overdoses in both arms (p = 0.95); 29% overdosed during follow-up. By intention-to-treat, participants assigned to REBOOT were less likely to experience any overdose (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.62 [95%CI 0.41–0.92, p = 0.019) and experienced fewer overdose events (IRR 0.46, 95%CI 0.24–0.90, p = 0.023), findings that were robust to sensitivity analyses. There were no differences between arms in days of opioid use, substance use treatment, or naloxone carriage. Conclusions: REBOOT reduced the occurrence of any opioid overdose and the number of overdoses. Link to full article.

Frequency of leaving the house and mortality from age 70 to 95

Citation: Jacobs, J. Hammerman-Rozenberg, A., & Stessman, J. (2017). Frequency of leaving the house and mortality from age 70 to 95. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doi:10.1111/jgs.15148.

Type of Research: Other Quantitative Research Design

Abstract: Objectives: To determine the association between frequency of leaving the house and mortality. Design: Prospective follow-up of an age-homogenous, representative, community-dwelling birth cohort (born 1920–21) from the Jerusalem Longitudinal Study (1990–2015). Setting: Home. Participants: Individuals aged 70 (n = 593), 78 (n = 973), 85 (n = 1164), and 90 (n = 645), examined in 1990, 1998, 2005, and 2010, respectively. Measurements: Frequency of leaving the house, defined as daily (6–7/week), often (2–5/week), and rarely (≤1/week); geriatric assessment; all-cause mortality (2010–15). Kaplan-Meier survival charts and proportional hazards models adjusted for social (sex, marital status, financial status, loneliness), functional (sex, self-rated health, fatigue, depression, physical activity, activity of daily living difficulty), and medical (sex, chronic pain, visual impairment, hearing impairment, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ischemic heart disease, chronic kidney disease) covariates. Results: At ages 70, 78, 85, and 90, frequency of going out daily was 87.0%, 80.6%, 65.6%, and 48.4%; often was 6.4%, 9.5%, 17.4%, and 11.3%; and rarely was 6.6%, 10.0%, 17.0%, and 40.3% respectively. Decreasing frequency of going out was associated with negative social, functional, and medical characteristics. Survival rates were lowest among those leaving rarely and highest among those going out daily throughout follow-up. Similarly, compared with rarely leaving the house, unadjusted mortality hazard ratios (HRs) were lowest among subjects leaving daily and remained significant after adjustment for social, functional and medical covariates. Among subjects leaving often, unadjusted HRs showed a similar effect of smaller magnitude, with attenuation of significance after adjustment in certain models. Findings were unchanged after excluding subjects dying within 6 months of follow-up. Conclusion: In community-dwelling elderly adults aged 70 to 90, leaving the house daily was associated with lower mortality risk, independent of social, functional, or medical status. Link to publisher’s article.

The effect of powered scooters on activity, participation and quality of life in elderly users

Citation: Pettersson, I., Hagberg, L., Fredriksson, C. & Hermansson, L. N. (2015). The effect of powered scooters on activity, participation and quality of life in elderly users. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. 11(7), 558-563.

Research Type: Other Quantitative Research Design

Abstract: Purpose: The aim was to explore the effect of using a powered mobility device (PMD) on older peoples’ activity, participation and quality of life (QoL). Method: A pre- and post-intervention design with outcome measures for activity, participation (Individually Prioritized Problem Assessment, IPPA; World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule, WHODAS 2.0) and QoL (SF-36) were used. T-test was used to analyse the data. The magnitude of the effects was measured by Cohen’s criteria for effect sizes (d). Results: The sample consisted of 45 individuals (36 men) aged 66–88 years referred for prescription of a PMD. All were prescribed a powered scooter (PS). A statistically significant improvement with a large effect on IPPA in the ICF domains of Self-care (d = 2.47), Domestic life(d = 2.40), Interpersonal interactions and relationships (d = 2.08), and Community, social, and civic life (d = 2.36) was found. Medium-sized improvement on the WHODAS 2.0 domain of Participation and small improvements in the SF-36 domains of Physical Health and Role-Physical were also found. Conclusion: A PS has significant effects on the areas of activity, participation and QoL in elderly people. These findings have implications for prescriptions of a PS to this population. Implications for Rehabilitation: 1.) Powered scooter interventions increased the performance of activities and increased participation in elderly people with mobility limitations. 2.) Actions from several parts of the community are required to prevent from mishaps from using powered scooters. 3.) The Individually Prioritized Problem Assessment is an adequate method to measure goal attainment in elderly users of powered scooters. Link to publisher’s article.

Tai chi for upper limb rehabilitation in stroke patients: The patient’s perspective.

Citation: Desrochers, P., Kairy, D., Pan, S., Corriveau, H., & Tousignant, M. (2017). Tai chi for upper limb rehabilitation in stroke patients: The patient’s perspective. Disability and Rehabilitation. 39(13), 1313-1319.

Research Type: Qualitative Research Design

Abstract: Introduction: This study aimed at exploring the perceived benefits and drawbacks of practicing tai chi, an alternative therapy that can be implemented in the community, as part of upper-limb rehabilitation following stroke. Methodology: Semistructured interviews were carried out with participants with chronic stroke (>6 months). The participants took part in 16 tai chi sessions over 8 weeks. Interviews were conducted in person using an interview guide based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB), and a thematic analysis was conducted. Results: Eight interviews were carried out with participants at various stages of motor recovery. Participants perceived a number of physical, functional, and psychological benefits. They found tai chi to be a global exercise, including both physical and mental aspects, and suggested that it can be included as part of rehabilitation for stroke patients. Many participants expressed a desire to continue practicing tai chi after completion of the study because it exceeded their expectations, among other reasons. Conclusion: This study can serve to guide future tai chi interventions and research on tai chi for rehabilitation in terms of the characteristics of the intervention and the various areas to assess in order to measure the overall benefits. Implications of Rehabilitation:

  • Tai chi was perceived as a good way of integrating various skills learned during rehabilitation.
  • Despite having different functional abilities, all the participants noted various physical, functional, and psychological benefits from participating in the tai chi sessions.
  • Tai chi seems to be a form of exercise that stroke patients would perform more long-term since all the participants in this study expressed the desire to continue practicing tai chi.

Link to publisher’s article.