Credit: Steady Health

An upcoming study supported by Alzheimer's Australia to test if physical activity does improve the symptoms of memory loss and wellbeing of people with Alzheimer's will take place in Brisbane by staff of the University of Queensland at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital complex.

Other venues where the study will be carried out include the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) at the University of Melbourne and the University of Western Australia, Perth.

Previous work found that walking for 2 and a half hour per week for 24 weeks significantly improved memory and thinking ability in Australians of 50 years and older and who reported of memory problems.

Associate Professor Gerard Byrne, Head of Psychiatry at the University of Queensland and Director of the Older Persons Mental Health Service at the Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital said physical activity was not only vital for physical health, but it is important for maintaining memory and thinking ability.

The latest study called Fitness for the Ageing Brain Study II (FABS II) is inviting people with Alzheimer's disease who live at home or have a family member or friend with the condition to participate.

We hope that the physical activity program will not only improve the quality of life and general wellbeing of the patient, but that it will also be of benefit to the carer, said Associate Prof Byrne.

All participants will undergo a personalized training program that will take about 150 minutes per week for 24 weeks that may include specific physical activities.

Their activity level will be monitored every six months using a pedometer, and also through their ability to walk distances, how fast they can get out of a chair and their ability to grip objects.

The hypothesis is that participants who have mild to moderate Alzheimer's will experience significantly less difficulty with their memory and thinking ability, after the complete the program compared to participants who only undergo their usual exercise activity.