Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mix of taiji, cognitive therapy and support groups benefits those with dementia

08.12.2008
Those diagnosed with early stage dementia can slow their physical, mental and psychological decline by taking part in therapeutic programs that combine counseling, support groups, Taiji and qigong, researchers report. Some of the benefits of this approach are comparable to those achieved with anti-dementia medications.

The findings are detailed in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias.

“Most of the research on dementia and most of the dollars up until this point have gone into pharmacological interventions,” said Sandy Burgener, a professor of nursing at the University of Illinois and lead author on the study. “But we have evidence now from studies like mine that show that other approaches can make a difference in the way people live and can possibly also impact their cognitive function.”

In the study, 24 people with early stage dementia participated in an intensive 40-week program. The intervention included biweekly sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy and support groups, along with three sessions per week of traditional Chinese martial arts exercises and meditation, called qigong (chee-gong) and Taiji (tye-jee).

A comparison group of people with early stage dementia did not participate in these programs for the first 20 weeks of the intervention.

Researchers are discovering that multi-discliplinary approaches – those that address patients’ physical, mental and psychological dimensions – show the most promise in treating people with dementia, Burgener said.

“There’s a lot of support for multi-modal therapies for persons with dementia, especially those with early stage dementia,” she said.

“Not only can we help people have a higher quality of life, but these treatments support neuronal function and have the potential for neuronal regeneration.”

Earlier studies have shown that such programs can work as well as anti-dementia drugs, Burgener said.

Qigong and Taiji combine simple physical movements and meditation. Qigong is a series of integrated exercises believed to positively affect the mind, body and spirit. Taiji is a type of qigong that melds Chinese philosophy with martial and healing arts, said Yang Yang, a professor of kinesiology and community health and a co-author of the study. He is a master Taiji and qigong instructor whose research focuses on the efficacy of Taiji and qigong for older adults.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that seeks positive alternatives to the beliefs and behaviors that can undermine a person’s health and happiness. Research has shown that cognitive behavioral therapy and support groups aid those who struggle with depression and other physical or mental health problems.

Participants in the program benefited in a variety of ways. After 20 weeks, those in the treatment group improved in several measures of physical function, including balance and lower leg strength, while those in the comparison group did not. There were also positive cognitive and psychological effects, Burgener said.

“We saw gains in self-esteem in the treatment group and pretty severe declines in self-esteem in the comparison group,” she said. “Those in the treatment group also had sustained and slightly improved mental status scores, which meant we were impacting cognitive function.”

Both groups saw increases in depression, Burgener said, but the increase for those in the treatment group was a fraction of that seen in the comparison group.

No additional benefits were seen after 40 weeks, but participants were able to maintain their initial gains.

The intervention was quite popular with the study subjects and their caregivers.

Although designed (and funded) to include only 10 participants and 10 people in the comparison group, Burgener and her colleagues enrolled 46 people in the program, with those in the comparison group starting the intervention after 20 weeks.

“People drove from all over to be in this study because there’s nothing like this available for them anywhere else,” Burgener said.

The program was so popular that she and her colleagues have kept it going for more than three years, with many of the first participants and their caregivers still engaged.

“The clinical findings, from my perspective, go far beyond the statistical findings,” Burgener said. “People were happier when they were in the treatment group. Two men came in with walkers and left without them. One is in our Taiji group three years later and is still not using a walker.”

Another participant began the program with a score of 26 on a 30-point test of mental status. A score of 24 or below is suggestive of dementia, Burgener said. This man stayed with the group and was recently re-tested. His score was still 26.

“That’s never going to show up as a statistical finding but that case example is pretty profound,” she said. Burgener is an advocate for further research into non-pharmacological interventions for people with dementia, which she sees as co-therapies to the drugs that are given to many people when they are first diagnosed.

“Funders and insurance companies are willing to put money into drugs, but it’s been a hard sell to get money for these kinds of programs,” she said.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>