Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Boosts Assessment Scores in Dementia Patients. (Similar to Drug-Related Changes)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy Boosts Assessment Scores in Dementia Patients. (Similar to Drug-Related Changes)

Article excerpt

LONDON -- A psychological intervention to stimulate cognition in patients with dementia achieved significant improvements in scores on the Mini Mental Status Exam and other measures in a randomized, controlled trial reported at the Seventh World Congress on Innovations in Psychiatry.

The changes were modest but of similar size to those seen with cholinesterase-inhibiting drugs, said Dr. Martin Orrell of University College, London.

Various psychological techniques to improve cognitive status in dementia are widely used. Among them are "reality orientation," which attempts to connect patients to their surroundings through prompts and information relevant to everyday life; reminiscence therapy, which recalls events in patients' lives with music, archival material, and other aids; and cognitive stimulation modalities that use word association and memory strategies to maximize intellectual function.

Although anecdotal evidence supports these approaches, there has been little systematic study of their efficacy A literature review of databases including Medline, PsychLit, Dissertation Abstracts International, and an index of unpublished papers found that studies of these modalities were mostly small and scattered, and that randomized, controlled trails were few.

Dr. Orrell described a program of cognitive stimulation therapy that incorporated elements of various approaches. It included maps, pictures, and games that aimed to improve orientation; multisensory stimulation; focused interventions related to the difficulties of everyday life, such as handling money; and reminiscence therapy that ranged over childhood, middle years, and recent times. …

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