Sport and Kog

Sport and Kog

The study investigates the effect of a multimodal exercise program and telephone physical activity counselling on health, cognition and well-being in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. Nine different clinics are involved in the project. The patients (n=300) will be randomized and assigned to either the intervention group (experimental program) or the control group (placebo program). Follow-up investigations take place once at the end of the intervention (6th month) and six months after the end of the intervention (12th month).

Brief overview

Period: 2008-2010
Project coordinators: Prof. Dr. Jens Wiltfang, University of Essen-Duisburg
Coordinator of the intervention: Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten
Physical activity coach: Matthias Schuster
Physical activity programme: Martina Niedermeier
Sponsor: Federal Ministry of Health

Experimental program


The intervention involves a sustained physical activation of the test persons and caregivers. The participants should be enabled to maintain a physically active lifestyle even after the end of the intervention. The intervention consists of an integrated movement programme that takes place once to three times a week and a telephone physical activity consultation that takes place once to twice a month (in the intervention months 3-6).

The exercise programme is divided into a physical training programme with a duration of 60 minutes and a moderated group discussion with a duration of 30 minutes. The exercise programme will take place three times a week in months 1 and 2 of the intervention period and once or twice a week in the following months.

The contents of the integrated training program are oriented towards the following topics

  1. Dance and movement to music,
  2. Sports and games, and
  3. Exercise in everyday life (see Fig.1).

The aim is to integrate cognitive, physiological and social-emotional stimulation in the participants. The exercises achieve a heart rate load of about sixty percent for the participants. In the further course the participants will be guided to independent activities. In order to achieve this, external providers of sports and physical activity programmes are invited to the group meetings.

Telephone coaching

The telephone physical activity coaching takes place from the third month of the intervention. It serves to ensure the sustainability of the physical activation of the participants. The telephone counselling includes the creation of weekly movement plans, the discussion of problems and successes as well as the imparting of action competences in relation to movement.

Control group

The control intervention consists of a stretching programme or training to improve mobility and, in contrast to experimental intervention, does not aim at significant improvements in physiological performance parameters. Patients participate in the same range of motion as in the intervention group (one to three times a week for 6 months). Also the contact with the patients in the control intervention is identical with the experimental intervention.