By Connor Boyd Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 22:00 BST, 14 October 2019 | Updated: 23:05 BST, 14 October 2019
Exercise may be more effective at treating dementia side effects than medication in some cases, a study suggests.
Researchers found patients who have symptoms of aggression as a result of the disorder responded better to outdoor activities than antipsychotic drugs.
Massages and touch therapy were also more effective than the controversial medications, thought to increase the risk of strokes and death.
Scientists believe exercise and therapies help alleviate the emotional and physical stress causing patients to act out, rather than numbing them with drugs.
But the team of academics, led by St Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, warned that there was not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Exercise may be more effective at treating dementia than medication in some cases, researchers from St Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto found
Almost 44,000 dementia patients are prescribed antipsychotics each year in England - nearly one in ten of all patients registered with the illness.
That’s despite the Government promising to crack down on their use a decade ago over fears the powerful drugs were being over-prescribed.
Antipsychotics are given to patients to sedate them if they become agitated or aggressive. Around 75 per cent of all sufferers show these behavioural symptoms.
But usually there is a reason for them being upset – they may be in pain, uncomfortable or thirsty, but unable to express their emotions.
Medics currently treat patients with a mixture of drugs, exercise and therapies. But there has been little research pitting the treatments against one another to see which is more beneficial.
Researchers compared 163 clinical trials involving 23,143 dementia sufferers who showed symptoms including aggression and agitation.