Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

HABIT Healthy Action to Benefit Independence & Thinking

Welcome to the HABIT page for people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and program participants.  The HABIT Program is for individuals with MCI and their loved ones to learn the best strategies for adapting, coping, and living their best lives with MCI.

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Aug 11, 2020

Yoga's Impact on Physical Function in those with MCI and Care Partners

By Dr. Melanie Chandler, HABIT FL Director, @drmelaniechandler

Senior Yoga

For this week's post, I'm excited to share the results of one of our many studies that came from our Patient Centered Outcomes Research Initiative (PCORI) trial.  This trial explored the comparative effectiveness of each of the interventions we provide in the HABIT Program.  In other words, we looked at the unique impact of each of our 5 interventions (Calendar training/MSS, Computerized Cognitive Training, Support Group, Wellness Education, and Yoga) on different possible outcomes.  Today I will focus on the outcomes of our Yoga intervention.

Yoga Outcomes in General for HABIT

We've previously posted about the benefit of yoga training on daily functional ability for individuals with MCI.  Compared to all our other interventions, yoga had the strongest impact on how our patients were doing functionally out to 18 months later (that was as long as we followed them in that study).  We've also previously posted how yoga training lowers anxiety and burden as well as improved mood in care partners at 12 months (the longest we measured it in that study).

Yoga and Physical Outcomes

But what about actual physical functioning?  In the trial, we had both patients with MCI and their care partners complete a physical function battery that included brief tasks of strength, balance, and speed.  We had them do this both before and after the interventions of HABIT, and again one year later.

Unfortunately, there was no benefit to physical functioning (walking speed, leg strength, balance) from yoga (or the other interventions) to the person with MCI one year later.  However, care partners who had yoga training had significantly better physical functioning out to the one year follow up than those that had just received the other interventions.

The Take Home Message

So, it seems yoga has many benefits:  better functional ability despite memory loss in patients with MCI, and improved mood, less anxiety and burden, and better physical function in care givers.  Definitely good reasons to recommend yoga training to both our patients with MCI and their loved ones!

Tell us what you think about yoga. What would you say to someone who has never tried it?





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