Background: Lewy body dementia (LBD) is an aggressive type of dementia of rapid, fluctuating disease trajec-tory, higher incidence of adverse events, and poorer functional independence than observed in Alzheimer's disease dementia. Non-pharmacological treatments such as progressive, high-intensity exercise are effective in other neuro-logical cohorts but have been scarcely evaluated in LBD. Methods: The Promoting Independence in Lewy Body Dementia through Exercise (PRIDE) trial was a non-ran-domised, non-blinded, crossover pilot trial involving older adults with LBD consisting of a baseline assessment, an 8-week wait-list, and an 8-week exercise intervention. The aims of this study were to evaluate the determinants of the primary outcome functional independence, as measured by the Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, and the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of an exercise intervention on this outcome. Additionally , important clinical characteristics were evaluated to explore associations and treatment targets. The exercise intervention was supervised, clinic-based, high-intensity progressive resistance training (PRT), challenging balance, and functional exercises, 3 days/week. Results: Nine participants completed the baseline cross-sectional study, of which five had a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), and four dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB). Six completed the exercise intervention (three PDD, three DLB). The cohort was diverse, ranging from mild to severe dementia and living in various residential settings. Greater functional independence at baseline was significantly associated with better physical function, balance, cognition, quality of life, muscle mass ratio, walking endurance, faster walking speed and cadence, and lower demen-tia severity (p < 0.05). Participants declined by clinically meaningful amounts in functional independence, cogni-tion, physical function, muscle mass, and weight over the wait-list period (p < 0.05). Following exercise, participants improved by clinically meaningful amounts in functional independence, cognition, physical function, and strength (p < 0.05). Progressive, high intensity exercise was well-tolerated (> 80% adherence), and only one minor exercise-related adverse event occurred. Conclusions: PRIDE is the first exercise trial conducted specifically within individuals diagnosed with LBD, and provides important insight for the design of larger, randomized trials for further evaluation of progressive, high-intensity exercise as a valuable treatment in LBD.
Accessible at: https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-022-03347-2