Aerobic or Resistance Exercise, or Both, in Dieting Obese Older Adults


Obesity causes frailty in older adults; however, weight loss might accelerate age-related loss of muscle and bone mass and resultant sarcopenia and osteopenia.


In this clinical trial involving 160 obese older adults, we evaluated the effectiveness of several exercise modes in reversing frailty and preventing reduction in muscle and bone mass induced by weight loss. Participants were randomly assigned to a weight-management program plus one of three exercise programs — aerobic training, resistance training, or combined aerobic and resistance training — or to a control group (no weight-management or exercise program). The primary outcome was the change in Physical Performance Test score from baseline to 6 months (scores range from 0 to 36 points; higher scores indicate better performance). Secondary outcomes included changes in other frailty measures, body composition, bone mineral density, and physical functions.


A total of 141 participants completed the study. The Physical Performance Test score increased more in the combination group than in the aerobic and resistance groups (27.9 to 33.4 points [21% increase] vs. 29.3 to 33.2 points [14% increase] and 28.8 to 32.7 points [14% increase], respectively; P=0.01 and P=0.02 after Bonferroni correction); the scores increased more in all exercise groups than in the control group (P<0.001 for between-group comparisons). Peak oxygen consumption (milliliters per kilogram of body weight per minute) increased more in the combination and aerobic groups (17.2 to 20.3 [17% increase] and 17.6 to 20.9 [18% increase], respectively) than in the resistance group (17.0 to 18.3 [8% increase]) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Strength increased more in the combination and resistance groups (272 to 320 kg [18% increase] and 288 to 337 kg [19% increase], respectively) than in the aerobic group (265 to 270 kg [4% increase]) (P<0.001 for both comparisons). Body weight decreased by 9% in all exercise groups but did not change significantly in the control group. Lean mass decreased less in the combination and resistance groups than in the aerobic group (56.5 to 54.8 kg [3% decrease] and 58.1 to 57.1 kg [2% decrease], respectively, vs. 55.0 to 52.3 kg [5% decrease]), as did bone mineral density at the total hip (grams per square centimeter; 1.010 to 0.996 [1% decrease] and 1.047 to 1.041 [0.5% decrease], respectively, vs. 1.018 to 0.991 [3% decrease]) (P<0.05 for all comparisons). Exercise-related adverse events included musculoskeletal injuries.


Of the methods tested, weight loss plus combined aerobic and resistance exercise was the most effective in improving functional status of obese older adults. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; LITOE number, NCT01065636.)

Effect of Collaborative Care vs Usual Care on Depressive Symptoms in Older Adults With Subthreshold Depression The CASPER Randomized Clinical Trial

Key Points

Question  Is collaborative care an effective method to reduce depressive symptoms in older people with mild depression?

Findings  In the CASPER randomized trial of 705 participants aged 65 years or older with subthreshold depression, those randomized to a collaborative care intervention had lower depression scores as measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item survey at 4-month follow-up compared with usual care.

Meaning  Among older adults with subthreshold depression, a collaborative care intervention reduced depressive symptoms at 4-month follow-up compared with usual care. The long-term efficacy of this intervention is unclear.


Importance  There is little evidence to guide management of depressive symptoms in older people.

Objective  To evaluate whether a collaborative care intervention can reduce depressive symptoms and prevent more severe depression in older people.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized clinical trial conducted from May 24, 2011, to November 14, 2014, in 32 primary care centers in the United Kingdom among 705 participants aged 65 years or older with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) subthreshold depression; participants were followed up for 12 months.

Interventions  Collaborative care (n=344) was coordinated by a case manager who assessed functional impairments relating to mood symptoms. Participants were offered behavioral activation and completed an average of 6 weekly sessions. The control group received usual primary care (n=361).

Main Outcomes and Measures  The primary outcome was self-reported depression severity at 4-month follow-up on the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9; score range, 0-27). Included among 10 prespecified secondary outcomes were the PHQ-9 score at 12-month follow-up and the proportion meeting criteria for depressive disorder (PHQ-9 score ≥10) at 4- and 12-month follow-up.

Results  The 705 participants were 58% female with a mean age of 77 (SD, 7.1) years. Four-month retention was 83%, with higher loss to follow-up in collaborative care (82/344 [24%]) vs usual care (37/361 [10%]). Collaborative care resulted in lower PHQ-9 scores vs usual care at 4-month follow-up (mean score with collaborative care, 5.36 vs with usual care, 6.67; mean difference, −1.31; 95% CI, −1.95 to −0.67; P < .001). Treatment differences remained at 12 months (mean PHQ-9 score with collaborative care, 5.93 vs with usual care, 7.25; mean difference, −1.33; 95% CI, −2.10 to −0.55). The proportions of participants meeting criteria for depression at 4-month follow-up were 17.2% (45/262) vs 23.5% (76/324), respectively (difference, −6.3% [95% CI, −12.8% to 0.2%]; relative risk, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.61-1.27]; P = .25) and at 12-month follow-up were 15.7% (37/235) vs 27.8% (79/284) (difference, −12.1% [95% CI, −19.1% to −5.1%]; relative risk, 0.65 [95% CI, 0.46-0.91]; P = .01).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among older adults with subthreshold depression, collaborative care compared with usual care resulted in a statistically significant difference in depressive symptoms at 4-month follow-up, of uncertain clinical importance. Although differences persisted through 12 months, findings are limited by attrition, and further research is needed to assess longer-term efficacy.

Trial Registration Identifier: ISRCTN02202951

JAMA. 2017;317(7):728-737

Sustained enjoyment of life and mortality at older ages: analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Objective To test whether the number of reports of enjoyment of life over a four year period is quantitatively associated with all cause mortality, and with death from cardiovascular disease and from other causes.

Design and setting Longitudinal observational population study using the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a nationally representative sample of older men and women living in England.

Participants 9365 men and women aged 50 years or older (mean 63, standard deviation 9.3) at recruitment.

Main outcome measures Time to death, based on mortality between the third phase of data collection (wave 3 in 2006) and March 2013 (up to seven years).

Results Subjective wellbeing with measures of enjoyment of life were assessed in 2002 (wave 1), 2004 (wave 2), and 2006 (wave 3). 2264 (24%) respondents reported no enjoyment of life on any assessment, with 1833 (20%) reporting high enjoyment on one report of high enjoyment of life, 2063 (22%) on two reports, and 3205 (34%) on all three occasions. 1310 deaths were recorded during follow-up. Mortality was inversely associated with the number of occasions on which participants reported high enjoyment of life. Compared with the no high enjoyment group, the hazard ratio for all cause mortality was 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.70 to 0.99) for two reports of enjoyment of life, and 0.76 (0.64 to 0.89) for three reports, after adjustment for demographic factors, baseline health, mobility impairment, and depressive symptoms. The same association was observed after deaths occurring within two years of the third enjoyment measure were excluded (0.90 (0.85 to 0.95) for every additional report of enjoyment), and in the complete case analysis (0.90 (0.83 to 0.96)).

Conclusions This is an observational study, so causal conclusions cannot be drawn. Nonetheless, the results add a new dimension to understanding the significance of subjective wellbeing for health outcomes by documenting the importance of sustained wellbeing over time.

Reference: BMJ 2016;355:i6267

Addition of a non-immersive virtual reality component to treadmill training to reduce fall risk in older adults (V-TIME): a randomised controlled trial


Age-associated motor and cognitive deficits increase the risk of falls, a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Because of the significant ramifications of falls, many interventions have been proposed, but few have aimed to prevent falls via an integrated approach targeting both motor and cognitive function. We aimed to test the hypothesis that an intervention combining treadmill training with non-immersive virtual reality (VR) to target both cognitive aspects of safe ambulation and mobility would lead to fewer falls than would treadmill training alone.


We carried out this randomised controlled trial at five clinical centres across five countries (Belgium, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK). Adults aged 60–90 years with a high risk of falls based on a history of two or more falls in the 6 months before the study and with varied motor and cognitive deficits were randomly assigned by use of computer-based allocation to receive 6 weeks of either treadmill training plus VR or treadmill training alone. Randomisation was stratified by subgroups of patients (those with a history of idiopathic falls, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with Parkinson’s disease) and sex, with stratification per clinical site. Group allocation was done by a third party not involved in onsite study procedures. Both groups aimed to train three times per week for 6 weeks, with each session lasting about 45 min and structured training progression individualised to the participant’s level of performance. The VR system consisted of a motion-capture camera and a computer-generated simulation projected on to a large screen, which was specifically designed to reduce fall risk in older adults by including real-life challenges such as obstacles, multiple pathways, and distracters that required continual adjustment of steps. The primary outcome was the incident rate of falls during the 6 months after the end of training, which was assessed in a modified intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in all patients who were assigned a treatment. This study is registered with, NCT01732653.


Between Jan 6, 2013, and April 3, 2015, 302 adults were randomly assigned to either the treadmill training plus VR group (n=154) or treadmill training alone group (n=148). Data from 282 (93%) participants were included in the prespecified, modified intention-to-treat analysis. Before training, the incident rate of falls was similar in both groups (10·7 [SD 35·6] falls per 6 months for treadmill training alone vs 11·9 [39·5] falls per 6 months for treadmill training plus VR). In the 6 months after training, the incident rate was significantly lower in the treadmill training plus VR group than it had been before training (6·00 [95% CI 4·36–8·25] falls per 6 months; p<0·0001 vs before training), whereas the incident rate did not decrease significantly in the treadmill training alone group (8·27 [5·55–12·31] falls per 6 months; p=0·49). 6 months after the end of training, the incident rate of falls was also significantly lower in the treadmill training plus VR group than in the treadmill training group (incident rate ratio 0·58, 95% CI 0·36–0·96; p=0·033). No serious training-related adverse events occurred.


In a diverse group of older adults at high risk for falls, treadmill training plus VR led to reduced fall rates compared with treadmill training alone.


European Commission.

Stepped care for depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults: multicentre randomised controlled trial

Study question Is stepped care compared with usual care effective in preventing the onset of major depressive, dysthymic, and anxiety disorders in older people with visual impairment (caused mainly by age related eye disease) and subthreshold depression and/or anxiety?

Methods 265 people aged ≥50 were randomly assigned to a stepped care programme plus usual care (n=131) or usual care only (n=134). Supervised occupational therapists, social workers, and psychologists from low vision rehabilitation organisations delivered the stepped care programme, which comprised watchful waiting, guided self help based on cognitive behavioural therapy, problem solving treatment, and referral to a general practitioner. The primary outcome was the 24 month cumulative incidence (seven measurements) of major depressive dysthymic and/or anxiety disorders (panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, and generalised anxiety disorder). Secondary outcomes were change in symptoms of depression and anxiety, vision related quality of life, health related quality of life, and adaptation to vision loss over time up to 24 months’ follow-up.

Study answer and limitations 62 participants (46%) in the usual care group and 38 participants (29%) from the stepped care group developed a disorder. The intervention was associated with a significantly reduced incidence (relative risk 0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.45 to 0.87; P=0.01), even if time to the event was taken into account (adjusted hazard ratio 0.57, 0.35 to 0.93; P=0.02). The number needed to treat was 5.8 (3.5 to 17.3). The dropout rate was fairly high (34.3%), but rates were not significantly different for the two groups, indicating that the intervention was as acceptable as usual care. Participants who volunteered and were selected for this study might not be representative of visually impaired older adults in general (responders were significantly younger than non-responders), thereby reducing the generalisability of the outcomes.

What this study adds Stepped care seems to be a promising way to deal with depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults. This approach could lead to standardised strategies for the screening, monitoring, treatment, and referral of visually impaired older adults with depression and anxiety.

Funding, competing interests, data sharing Funded by ZonMw InZicht, the Dutch Organisation for Health Research and Development-InSight Society. There are no competing interests. Full dataset and statistical code are available from the corresponding author.

Study NTR3296.

Hilde P A van der Aa et al, BMJ 2015;351:h6127



Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of augmentation pharmacotherapy with aripiprazole for treatment-resistant depression in late life: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial


Treatment-resistant major depression is common and potentially life-threatening in elderly people, in whom little is known about the benefits and risks of augmentation pharmacotherapy. We aimed to assess whether aripiprazole is associated with a higher probability of remission than is placebo.


We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial at three centres in the USA and Canada to test the efficacy and safety of aripiprazole augmentation for adults aged older than 60 years with treatment-resistant depression (Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS] score of ≥15). Patients who did not achieve remission during a pre-trial with venlafaxine extended-release (150–300 mg/day) were randomly assigned (1:1) to the addition of aripiprazole (target dose 10 mg [maximum 15 mg] daily) daily or placebo for 12 weeks. The computer-generated randomisation was done in blocks and stratified by site. Only the database administrator and research pharmacists had knowledge of treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was remission, defined as an MADRS score of 10 or less (and at least 2 points below the score at the start of the randomised phase) at both of the final two consecutive visits, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered with, number NCT00892047.


From July 20, 2009, to Dec 30, 2013, we recruited 468 eligible participants, 181 (39%) of whom did not remit and were randomly assigned to aripiprazole (n=91) or placebo (n=90). A greater proportion of participants in the aripiprazole group achieved remission than did those in the placebo group (40 [44%] vs 26 [29%] participants; odds ratio [OR] 2·0 [95% CI 1·1–3·7], p=0·03; number needed to treat [NNT] 6·6 [95% CI 3·5–81·8]). Akathisia was the most common adverse effect of aripiprazole (reported in 24 [26%] of 91 participants on aripiprazole vs 11 [12%] of 90 on placebo). Compared with placebo, aripiprazole was also associated with more Parkinsonism (15 [17%] of 86 vs two [2%] of 81 participants), but not with treatment-emergent suicidal ideation (13 [21%] of 61 vs 19 [29%] of 65 participants) or other measured safety variables.


In adults aged 60 years or older who do not achieve remission from depression with a first-line antidepressant, the addition of aripiprazole is effective in achieving and sustaining remission. Tolerability concerns include the potential for akathisia and Parkinsonism.


National Institute of Mental Health, UPMC Endowment in Geriatric Psychiatry, Taylor Family Institute for Innovative Psychiatric Research, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.

Effect of Caloric Restriction or Aerobic Exercise Training on Peak Oxygen Consumption and Quality of Life in Obese Older Patients With Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance  More than 80% of patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF), the most common form of heart failure among older persons, are overweight or obese. Exercise intolerance is the primary symptom of chronic HFPEF and a major determinant of reduced quality of life (QOL).

Objective  To determine whether caloric restriction (diet) or aerobic exercise training (exercise) improves exercise capacity and QOL in obese older patients with HFPEF.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized, attention-controlled, 2 × 2 factorial trial conducted from February 2009 through November 2014 in an urban academic medical center. Of 577 initially screened participants, 100 older obese participants (mean [SD]: age, 67 years [5]; body mass index, 39.3 [5.6]) with chronic, stable HFPEF were enrolled (366 excluded by inclusion and exclusion criteria, 31 for other reasons, and 80 declined participation).

Interventions  Twenty weeks of diet, exercise, or both; attention control consisted of telephone calls every 2 weeks.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Exercise capacity measured as peak oxygen consumption (V̇o2, mL/kg/min; co–primary outcome) and QOL measured by the Minnesota Living with Heart Failure (MLHF) Questionnaire (score range: 0–105, higher scores indicate worse heart failure–related QOL; co–primary outcome).

Results  Of the 100 enrolled participants, 26 participants were randomized to exercise; 24 to diet; 25 to exercise + diet; 25 to control. Of these, 92 participants completed the trial. Exercise attendance was 84% (SD, 14%) and diet adherence was 99% (SD, 1%). By main effects analysis, peak V̇o2 was increased significantly by both interventions: exercise, 1.2 mL/kg body mass/min (95% CI, 0.7 to 1.7), P < .001; diet, 1.3 mL/kg body mass/min (95% CI, 0.8 to 1.8), P < .001. The combination of exercise + diet was additive (complementary) for peak V̇o2 (joint effect, 2.5 mL/kg/min). There was no statistically significant change in MLHF total score with exercise and with diet (main effect: exercise, −1 unit [95% CI, −8 to 5], P = .70; diet, −6 units [95% CI, −12 to 1],P = .08). The change in peak V̇o2 was positively correlated with the change in percent lean body mass (r = 0.32; P = .003) and the change in thigh muscle:intermuscular fat ratio (r = 0.27; P = .02). There were no study-related serious adverse events. Body weight decreased by 7% (7 kg [SD, 1]) in the diet group, 3% (4 kg [SD, 1]) in the exercise group, 10% (11 kg [SD, 1] in the exercise + diet group, and 1% (1 kg [SD, 1]) in the control group.

Conclusions and Relevance  Among obese older patients with clinically stable HFPEF, caloric restriction or aerobic exercise training increased peak V̇o2, and the effects may be additive. Neither intervention had a significant effect on quality of life as measured by the MLHF Questionnaire.

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00959660

Dalane W. Kitzman et al, JAMA. 2016;315(1):36-46