Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Merrill Landers

First Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that individuals with cognitive impairment (CI) exhibit significant motor impairments; however, these motor impairments receive little treatment attention compared to more prominent CI. Moreover, there is a lack of evidence about physiotherapy (PT) in individuals with CI. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine if PT was effective at improving gait and balance in individuals with Alzheimer disease (AD), vascular dementia (VaD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and mild cognitive impairment (MCI). METHODS: Retrospective data of 173 individuals with CI conditions and an initial evaluation for PT were extracted from electronic records from January 2016 to December 2017 at a neuro-rehabilitation clinic. The individuals were grouped according to diagnosis (67 with AD, 34 with VaD, 35 with DLB, and 37 with MCI). The following outcomes before and after a month of PT were extracted from records: Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), MiniBESTest, 5 Times Sit-To-Stand, Timed Up and Go (TUG), TUG cognitive, preferred gait speed, fast gait speed, 6 Minute Walk Test, and the modified Fear of Falling Avoidance Behavior Questionnaire. RESULTS: The mean number of PT sessions over a month was 3.4 (±1.8). All groups showed improvements in balance and at least two gait outcome measures. Those with MCI improved in every gait and balance outcome measure. Lastly, MoCA scores improved in individuals in the AD, VaD, and MCI groups. CONCLUSIONS: Results of this study offer preliminary evidence that one month of PT may produce benefits to gait and balance in individuals with CI. Moreover, it may afford cognitive benefit.


Alzheimer Disease; Vascular Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies; Mild Cognitive Impairment; Dementia; Exercise; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation


Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy

File Format


File Size

786 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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