Study protocol for Vitality: a proof-of-concept randomised controlled trial of exercise training or complex mental and social activities to promote cognition in adults with chronic stroke Journal Articles uri icon

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  • IntroductionCerebrovascular disease—such as stroke—is the second most common cause of dementia (ie, vascular dementia). Specifically, a stroke increases one’s risk for dementia by a factor of two. Thus, stroke survivors represent a target population in need of intervention strategies to promote cognitive function and prevent dementia. The current standard of care in stroke rehabilitation does not adequately address the significant cognitive consequences of stroke, especially for those who are in the chronic phase (ie, >12 months since an index stroke). Two potential intervention strategies are: (1) exercise training and (2) cognitive and social enrichment activities.Methods and analysisThe aim of this proof-of-concept randomised controlled trial is to determine whether a 6-month targeted exercise training programme or a 6-month cognitive and social enrichment programme can efficaciously and efficiently improve cognitive function in older adults with chronic stroke compared with a 6-month stretch and tone programme (ie, control). The primary measurement periods will be baseline, month 6 (postintervention) and month 12 (6-month follow-up). The primary outcome measure will be performance on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive-Plus (ADAS-Cog-Plus), a global measure of cognitive performance using multidimensional item response theory to summarise scores from the 13-item ADAS-Cog and other standard cognitive assessments. The primary analysis will compare changes in ADAS-Cog-Plus performance from baseline to month 6. Proof-of-concept outcomes relating to intervention feasibility will be analysed descriptively. The economic evaluation will examine the incremental costs and health outcome benefits generated by both interventions versus the control.Ethics and disseminationEthical approval has been obtained from the University of British Columbia’s Clinical Research Ethics Board (H13-00715, 26 July 2013). Any modifications to the protocol will require a formal amendment to the protocol and approval by the Research Ethics Board. Outcomes of this randomised controlled trial and the statistical code to generate those outcomes will be disseminated through publication in peer-reviewed journals as well as conference presentations.Trial registration numberNCT01916486.


  • Best, John R
  • Eng, Janice J
  • Davis, Jennifer C
  • Hsiung, Robin
  • Hall, Peter A
  • Middleton, Laura E
  • Graf, Peter
  • Goldsmith, Charles Harry
  • Liu-Ambrose, Teresa

publication date

  • March 2018