Alzheimer's disease drug shows early promise
A Drug-Free Way to Halt Dementia
Dementia can be devastating, and symptoms include memory loss, confusion, and trouble with speech. Though the condition is progressive, certain mental exercises can actually halt the advancement of the disease, according to a new study in the journalBMC Medicine.
When German nursing home patients were selected to take part in a year-long regime of two-hours of group therapy, six days a week, study participants did tasks that engaged their motor skills (such as balancing exercises); cognitive abilities (such as playing puzzles); daily living skills (such as gardening); and spiritual side (such as signing hymns or discussing topics like "happiness”). When the year was up, their cognitive function was at least as good as those treated with cholinesterase inhibitors, and their ability to perform daily living tasks (such as tying a bow or preparing a snack) weretwiceas high as those treated with meds.
These mental exercises may prevent dementia’s progression by helping sufferers to flex the brain regions linked to motor skills, cognition, and performing daily tasks more than they would have worked them on their own. “We do not think that this therapy can prevent the neurophysiological changes of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it can perhaps delay the manifestation of clinical symptoms,” says one of the researchers Katharina Luttenberger, Ph.D, from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen in Germany.
Video: What you can do to prevent Alzheimer's | Lisa Genova
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