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Cognitive stimulation 'could help people with dementia'

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People with dementia could benefit from cognitive stimulation therapies, according to a review of previous studies.

Researchers analysed data from a total of 718 people with mild or moderate dementia who took part in 15 controlled trials. The majority of them had Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia.

The participants underwent cognitive stimulation therapies that ranged from word games and discussions to music and baking and were aimed at stimulating memory and thinking. Progress was measured against other people with dementia who received standard treatments in the form of medicine, day care or physical therapy.

The scientists found that the therapies had a positive effect on memory, thinking and well-being, although they cautioned that this may not necessarily lead to a better quality of life.

Lead author Bob Woods of the Dementia Services Development Centre Wales, at Bangor University, said: “The most striking findings in this review are those related to the positive effects of cognitive stimulation on performance in cognitive tests. These findings are perhaps the most consistent yet for psychological interventions in people with dementia.”

The review was launched after the last World Alzheimer’s Report said people with early symptoms of dementia should have access to cognitive stimulation therapies, which raised concerns about its effectiveness.

The findings have been published in The Cochrane Library.

 

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