Parkinson Research Institute, USA
Thomas Fritsch is the director, Parkinson Research Institute at Aurora Health Care. He has published many research articles in international Journals
Epidemiologic studies have shown that greater participation in mental, physical, and social activities can reduce the risk for development of dementia and other cognitive defi cits in aging. Th ese fi ndings lead to the development of so-called “early memory loss” (EML) programs intervention which provide a forum to “exercise” mind and body, and off er opportunities to socialize with others. In a longitudinal study of 55 persons with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia, we examined whether participation in the club would be associated with changes in cognitive function over one year. Controlling for relevant covariates, we found that club participation was associated with improvements in two of three executive function measures and maintenance of function on two of three memory measures. We observed decline, over time, on a measure of delayed recall. Th is pilot study suggests that EML clubs may be an effi cacious, non-pharmacologic intervention for people with early memory loss. However, further research (especially RCTs) is needed before recommending wide-spread implementation of this program.