One-year repeated cycles of cognitive training (CT) for Alzheimer’s disease
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- Bergamaschi, S., Arcara, G., Calza, A. et al. Aging Clin Exp Res (2013) 25: 421. doi:10.1007/s40520-013-0065-2
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Recent research suggests that a combination of both pharmacological and psychosocial treatments targeting cognitive functions improves cognition in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The present study evaluated the effectiveness of a 1-year cognitive training (CT) by comparing the cognitive performance of 16 patients with AD treated with CT and cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEIs) (experimental group) with the performance of 16 patients treated with a non-specific cognitive treatment and ChEIs (control group).
This study was a single-blind randomized controlled trial. The patients in the experimental group received pharmacological treatment and repeated cycles of CT for 1 year, whereas the control group received pharmacological treatment and repeated cycles of non-specific cognitive exercises. The patients in the two groups were administered a variety of neuropsychological tests measuring several cognitive functions (i.e. memory, language, reasoning, executive function, working memory and apraxia), activities of daily living, and depression.
After 1 year of training, the experimental group scored significantly higher on the Mini Mental State Examination, the Milan Overall Dementia Assessment battery and in other five neuropsychological tests, compared to the control group.
Present results suggest that repeated cycles of CT in patients with AD treated with ChEIs are associated with benefits in several areas of cognitive function.