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DRUG FREE Alzheimer’s Therapy

The BAT Foundation are delivering a national campaign of original medical research, specialised equipment development, and expert training & resources aimed at providing drug free table tennis alzheimer's therapy

Studies carried out in 1998 in Japan explored the potential of Table Tennis as an effective therapy in the reduction of cognitive decline and the ability to delay onset symptoms in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. The 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.

It was a combination of this existing, but much in need of updating, study and the Ping Pong film, which followed 8 people playing in the Over 80's World Table Tennis Championships, that featured a character who associated their improved cognitive wellbeing to table tennis that inspired BAT.


“Table Tennis stimulates overall awareness, enhancing player’s motor skills and effectively improving this function of the brain. As an aerobic exercise, people playing with early stage Alzheimer’s can experience functional improvements in the frontal lobes of the brain which regulate decision making, problem solving, and movement”

Professor Wendy Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, New York University

Drug treatments are a focus of research, however there is emerging evidence that other low cost therapies may be effective in playing a preventative role of slowing the progression of Alzheimer's.

Lack of physical exercise is a recognised risk factor for developing the disease and evidence from preliminary studies suggest that exercise may be pro-active against developing dementia.

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.

An excellent candidate for a type of physical exercise accessible to those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and those in the early stages of the illness is perhaps surprisingly, table tennis. 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 (magnetic resonance imaging) based techniques.

In partnership with King's College London, BAT are conducting a a completely new piece of medical research to 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.


“Contrast is the key to vision. Without contrast, objects cannot be seen and differentiated. As we age we lose the ability to separate colours clearly, our perception of depth diminishes, we have less spatial awareness, and our sensitivity to contrast lowers. Without good contrasts we struggle more and function with less confidence”

Professor June Andrews, Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling

The BAT Foundation, in collaboration with one of the World’s leading Table Tennis equipment manufacturers, Tamasu Butterfly Europa GmbH and U.S. Table Tennis innovators Inclusion, is currently developing a Table Tennis Table concept that is specifically designed to enhance the Game’s ability to deliver an even more effective therapeutic experience for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Various elements have been factored into the design that are intended to proactively compensate for ‘contrast, perspective and colour’ deprivation that is symptomatic in those afflicted by Alzheimer’s.

The addition of Inclusion’s Plexiglass side panels to a specifically colour customised Butterfly Table Tennis table, will create an enclosed ‘arena’ adding to the player’s sense of being in a secure environment and elevating both focus and control.

As part of the development of this ground breaking DRUG FREE THERAPY table tennis table and equipment, we are working with King's College London and Table Tennis England to deliver a special accreditation trial in October 2015.

We need 5 volunteers who've been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's or Dementia to be part of this unique study and help create a brand new approach to Alzheimer's and Dementia therapy.

If you would like to know more and see if you can be part of this unique research, you can read more details right here.