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Kathleen T. Rhyner and Amber Watts

Depressive symptoms are common in older adults, but antidepressant medications may be contraindicated or poorly tolerated in this population. Intervention studies demonstrate that exercise may be an effective alternative. This meta-analysis included 41 randomized controlled trials of aerobic and nonaerobic exercise interventions investigating the effect of exercise on depressive symptoms in adults aged 60 or older. A random effects model demonstrated that exercise was associated with significantly lower depression severity (SMD = 0.57, 95% CI 0.36–0.78). This effect was not significantly different for different ages of participants, types of control groups, or types of exercise interventions. Studies requiring a diagnosis of depression had significantly greater mean effect sizes than studies that did not require a depression diagnosis (Qbet = 6.843, df = 1, p = .009). These findings suggest that exercise is an effective treatment option for older individuals with depressive symptoms.

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Amber Watts, Mauricio Garnier-Villarreal and Paul Gardiner

Time spent being sedentary is associated with poorer cognitive function and risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study aimed to compare patterns of sitting in a free-living environment among older adults with and without early stage AD who were similar in physical limitations, body mass, and cardiorespiratory capacity. We also compared estimates of sitting patterns between two different monitors (postural and non-postural) with different body placements (thigh-worn vs. hip-worn). Comparing older adults without cognitive impairment to those with early AD, we found that although there was no difference in the total amount of daily sitting time (p = .52), the AD group tended to have longer durations of sitting than those without AD. Inclinometry data from the hip-worn ActiGraph GT3X+ consistently underestimated time spent sitting compared to the thigh worn monitor activPAL (hours per day, proportion of waking hours, number of sitting bouts greater than 30 minutes, and duration of sitting bouts). Our results have implications for prevention strategies to reduce sedentary time, which is predominantly sitting, in persons with cognitive impairment and highlight the importance of monitor selection and placement for the accurate assessment of sitting patterns in this population.

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Nicolas Farina, Laura J. Hughes, Amber Watts and Ruth G. Lowry

Physical activity questionnaires are an important means to assess habitual physical activity. It remains unclear what questionnaires are used and whether they are appropriate for people with dementia who have impaired information recall but are also often largely sedentary. This scoping review aimed to identify and quantify the use of physical activity questionnaires within a dementia population. Eighteen studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. The majority of studies used questionnaires that were validated for use within an older adult population (e.g., Modified Baecke Questionnaire for the Elderly), though none had specifically been validated for use in people with dementia. Interestingly, just over half of the studies (N = 10, 55.6%) adapted the questionnaires from the original validated version by allowing a proxy to provide input to the responses. Future research needs to robustly validate the use of proxy-report measures of physical activity in people with dementia.