Vol. 2 nº 2 - Apr/May/Jun de 2008
Original Article Páginas: 146 a 150

Neuropsychological rehabilitation program and behavioral disturbances in early-stage Alzheimer's patients

Authors Vera Lúcia Duarte Vieira1, Sônia Maria Dozzi Brucki2, Anna Luiza Costa Marques Martins3, Fabíola Canali1, Luciano Gois Vasconcelos1, Maira Okada de Oliveira3, Beatriz Schlecht Bittencourt1, Lúcia Julieta Tonato Leite3, Jacqueline Abrisqueta-Gomez2, Orlando Francisco Amodeo Bueno4


keywords: dementia, caregivers, behavioral disorders, non-pharmacological interventions.

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia and cholinesterase inhibitors are the available treatment in the mild stage. However cognitive rehabilitation has shown satisfactory results when combined with pharmacological treatment. Behavioral alteration is common in AD patients, which burdens caregivers and raises the risk of institutionalization. Providing caregivers guidance may enable them to assure better quality of life for patient and caregiver and lower institutionalization rates. Objective: To evaluate the effects of a neuropsychological rehabilitation program (NRP) combined with pharmacological treatment in early stage AD patients. Methods: We studied 12 AD patients (6 women), average age 75.42 (6.22) with 9.58 (5.6) years education in use of stable doses of cholinesterase inhibitors. Cognitive performance was evaluated using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and Alzheimer´s Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive (ADAS-Cog). Caregivers responded to Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Functional Activities Questionnaire (FAQ) at initial evaluation (T1), and after 8 months of rehabilitation program (T2). The program comprised two sessions every week and family guidance every fortnight. Results: MMSE (T1:23.25 (1.82)/T2:23.42 (2.81); ADAS-Cog (T1:17.11 (6.73)/T2:21.2 (8.59); NPI (T1:23.42 (23.38)/T2:19.83 (17.73); FAQ (T1:10.67 (7.24)/T2: 13.92 (6.92). Conclusions: These results show the importance of providing guidance and support for caretakers. Study limitations were the small number of patients and absence of a control group with only drug treatment to compare with combined pharmacological and rehabilitation treatments.


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