Cognitive and physical factors affecting daily function in Alzheimer's disease: A cross-sectional analysis

Fang Yu, Yan Chen, Michelle A. Mathiason, Qiaoqin Wan, Feng V. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Understanding the factors affecting activities of daily living (ADL) is important in Alzheimer's disease (AD), because decline in ADL contributes to many poor health outcomes. Existing studies often investigate the factors in isolation without a theoretical framework. The purpose of the present study was to provide preliminary results on how cognition, physical performance, and behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia mediate the relationship of aerobic fitness and ADL in AD. A cross-sectional analysis was used (n = 28: average age 78 [8] years, education 16 (3) years, Mini-Mental State Examination scores 20 [4]). The results showed that aerobic fitness is not linked to ADL directly, and its association with ADL was mediated by physical performance and global cognition. Our findings provide preliminary support for aerobic fitness as a potential therapeutic target, as enhanced aerobic fitness could simultaneously modify other factors affecting ADL. Nurses are in a unique position for coordinating exercise safety assessment and prescription and educating older adults with AD about exercise participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalNursing and Health Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The present study was funded by the National Institute of Health K12 Career Advancement Award (no.: RR023247–04), BrightFocus Foundation (no.: A2009344), and the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (no.: 1R01AG043392-01A1). We thank the study participants and their family members for their support of the study, and our staff for their diligent work to ensure participant safety and data quality.

Funding Information:
National Institute of Health K12 Career Advancement Award, Grant/Award Number: RR023247-04; National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging, Grant/Award Number: R01AG043392-01A1; BrightFocus Foundation, Grant/Award Number: A2009344

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • activities of daily living
  • aerobic fitness
  • cognition
  • dementia


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