It's time for something new
With the numbers of those affected by Alzheimer's rising (over 1 million in the UK by 2025), the cost of treating the disease mounting (over £26 billion annually in the UK currently), and knowing that delaying the condition by five years could save 30,000 lives a year... now is the time for action! Whilst the exact causes and triggers of Alzheimer's remain unclear, interventions focusing on encouraging more regular physical activity are likely to be particularly effective at combating the disease's symptoms. This is the goal of BAT... to search for alternative drug free treatments and therapy.
Changing the face of alzheimer's therapy
Outside of the box research is the key to drive advances in methods of treatment and develop drug free therapy to prevent the disease. BAT firmly believes this is an incredibly important area and in collaboration with the specialist neuroscience team at King's College London, will be delivering a 2017 original piece of research to show how table tennis can benefit those living with Alzheimer's through:
  • Improving hand-eye coordination
  • Stimulating the Hippocampus
  • Extending long-term memory
  • Delaying cognitive decline
  • Enhancing motor skills
Drug free table tennis alzheimer's therapy

A ground breaking study

During 2017, BAT will be delivering a piece of medical research looking at the positive effects and benefits playing table tennis has mentally, physically, and emotionally on those living with Alzheimer's. The study consists of 32 volunteers, all with early stage Alzheimer's, who'll be divided into two groups. The first taking part in specialised table tennis sessions with the other living life as normal, all for a 10 week period. Volunteers will take part in MRI scans and other simple cognitive tests and well-being questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study. We'll also conduct interviews during as part of a wider anecdotal case study to accompany the formal research. You can read the full proposal right here.

Be part of our research

If you're over 50, have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and can commit to the 10 week length of study, you could be part of this unique study and help change the face of Alzheimer's therapy forever. Get in touch today.
Dr Matthew Kempton
Matthew is the MRC CDA Fellow at Department of Neuroimaging and lead on the BAT Foundation study.
Jennifer Zinser
Jenny is the Research Assistant, dealing with patient recruitment, study delivery, and analysis.
...................................................................................................................... If you're interested in joining our study or know someone who might be eligible, get in touch with Jenny from Tuesday to Thursday for a chat on: E: jennifer.zinser@kcl.ac.uk or T: 07504 150272
. Please note that general questions or press enquiries about BAT's study should be directed to BAT Project Manager Andrew Battley.
Building our research
The journey of BAT's study started back to 2012 with a feature length documentary called Ping Pong that, having been a smash hit at the Sheffield Doc and Canadian Hot Docs film festivals, was now setting screens alight in cinemas all across the UK.

Following 8 octogenarians from across the globe as they play in the Over 80's World Table Tennis Championships, characters like Terry Donlan (who's overcome multiple cancers to keep playing) and Dorothy DeLow (who at 100 is still going strong at events) show us the tenacity of the human spirit and that age really is just a number. Read more about the film and its successful impact through the Ping Pong Care Campaign in BAT's History

One of the film's characters, Inge, attributes her improved health to table tennis, having discovered a table in the basement of her nursing home after being diagnosed with Dementia. This potential intrigued the Ping Pong Care Campaign, who began investigating. This is where BAT picks up the batten.

What's come before

Studies carried out in 1996 and 1998 in Japan explored the potential of table tennis as an effective therapy in the reduction of cognitive decline and ability to delay onset symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Trials showed table tennis activated up to 5 portions of the brain in the Alzheimer's subjects during play. In the light of the positive outcome, the study's deliverers designated table tennis as the World's Number One Brain Sport. You can check out these studies below:

Effects of Table Tennis on Mental Ability

Identifying that as life expectancy is lengthened in developed nations senile Dementia becomes a bigger problem, the purpose of the paper was to find out the influence of table tennis practice upon the mental ability of players in advanced ages.

Comparing results against a control group, the paper found that scores were higher amongst the table tennis players in every age group. Their findings suggested that table tennis can be an effective preventative or delayer of senile Dementia.

You can read the full paper here.

Effects of Table Tennis on Brain Blood Flow

Noting the increase of popularity of ball games amongst senior and that it's generally recognised that the influence given to the brain by ball games is important, the paper looked to examine the effects of table tennis in this area.

Comparing results amongst players with varying level of table tennis skill, the paper found there was no brain blood flow increase after exercising with an ergometer, whereas blood pressure increased by 20% - 30% on average after playing table tennis.

You can read the full paper here.

Effects of Table Tennis on Higher Brain Function

This paper pulls together and summarises the findings of the both the above papers and other studies that were conducted, that looked at table tennis's effective ability for the rehabilitation of patients with central nerve disease.

All findings suggest that not only does table tennis play increase brain blood flow and offer an effective delay against the symptoms of dementia, but that it improves motor and sensory functions, lowers depression, and is a good rehabilitation treatment.

You can read the full paper here.

These papers indicate the vast potential of table tennis for those living with Alzheimer's. However, given that they're over 20 years old now, that we have a greater understanding of the development of Alzheimer's, and the advances in medical technology and research techniques... BAT felt it was hugely important to conduct a completely new piece of medical research.

BAT ARE CHANGING THE GAME

Drug treatments are so often the focus of research, rather than drug free alternatives. Lack of physical exercise is a recognised risk factor for developing the disease and there is emerging evidence that low cost therapies may be effective in playing a preventative role of slowing the progression of Alzheimer's.

The benefits of physical activity are likely to be mediated by changes in brain structure and function... it's been shown to increase brain volume, improve cognitive function, increase visuospatial ability and cognitive control, and more recently to increase hippocampus volume; a region of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease and important in memory.

Table tennis is a fast moving, competitive, and social activity which involves physical exercise, sustained attention, and the development of visuospatial skills. However the beneficial effects of table tennis in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and its putative effect on brain structure and function has not been formally tested using objective measures such as MRI based techniques.

BAT's research will investigate exactly what is going on inside the brain of those with on-set Alzheimer's and understand the potential benefits playing table tennis could have on reversing and even preventing the diseases development. Keep checking in with us as we deliver the study during 2017.
BAT Research makes an impact
Using ping pong to BATtle Alzheimer’s (t)
Outside of the box research is the key to drive advances in methods of treatment and develop drug free therapy
Read more.
Be part of our research. We need you!
As part of the development of our ground breaking DRUG FREE THERAPY table tennis table and equipment, we are working
Read more.